The bright palette of Mexico and other Latino cultures might have to be muted under a proposed set of standards for building facades in Toledo, a Latino advocate said yesterday.
Maria Rodriguez-Winter, vice president of Viva South Toledo Community Development Corp., said her group is trying to develop a vibrant Hispanic district on Broadway in the Old South End.
“We re looking for colors that are bright, things that will reflect our heritage,” said Ms. Rodriguez-Winter, such as cobalt blue, green, red, and orange. “We would like the option of having more artistic possibilities than just the earth tones.”
The color issue surfaced yesterday at a hearing of City Council s zoning and planning committee, which is reviewing a rewrite of the city s 1959 zoning code.
The hearing focused on landscape, parking, and design standards under the proposed new code.
The committee has one more hearing planned Dec. 11 before the revised code goes to the full council for a vote.
If adopted, the design standards will restrict the appearance of building facades, prohibiting massive concrete walls, and requiring windows, recesses, new rooflines, and other touches that would reduce a large building to what the code calls “human scale.”
The proposed code also reduces parking lots by 33 percent. It requires clearly designated walkways from streets to the main entrance of commercial buildings.
Toledo s proposed design standards would forbid buildings being decorated primarily in bright or prime colors. Facades would have to be painted in “low-reflectance, subtle, neutral, or earth tone colors.”
Bright colors could be used for trim, if approved by the plan director.
Several buildings in the 1200 block of Broadway are painted in bright colors evocative of Mexico.
Stephen Herwat, executive director of the city plan commission, said the colorful storefronts favored by Mexican culture probably would not be permitted under the design standards as now written.
He said his department would research how Viva s interests in ethnic building fronts could be accommodated.
The Viva neighborhood, formally known as Heritage South, has its own zoning overlay district.
Under the new code, that district will be known as “storefront commercial,” and builders applying for permits in the district would have to make their designs mesh with the architectural styles found there.
John Widmer, the planner coordinating the zoning rewrite, said the code could make an exception specifically for the Viva neighborhood.
“We re going to research the question of using ethnic colors in revitalized commercial districts,” Mr. Widmer said.