The days of building homes with brick fronts and wooden sides may soon be over in the City of Fayetteville if council members approve an ordinance change to that effect at their Thursday night meeting.
According to Director of Community Development Brian Wismer, Fayetteville years ago did away with allowing vinyl siding on new homes, but there has been nothing in place to ensure a consistent look around the whole house. He told council members at the last meeting that many homes in the last few decades are now being built with nicer front facades and plainer sides and backs, often with smaller and oddly placed windows on those walls.
Wismer said attention to architectural detail “has slowly and gradually diminished.” He said this may be partly due to “production” builders’ practices, which includes reasoning that nobody really cares what the sides of houses look like. These details do matter, however, said Wismer, who showed several photographs illustrating the difference made when builders do continue attractive architectural themes all the way around a house.
“While the economics of production building certainly make sense, when left unchecked it can lead to monotony within the neighborhood and throughout the city’s housing stock,” Wismer wrote in a memo to city council members. “This issue is prevalent across the country and certainly not unique to the City of Fayetteville,” he continued. “However, in an effort to encourage residential development that will stand above the typical suburban model, staff has researched best practices through the American Planning Association and other communities to create a set of minimum architectural standards for City Council to consider.”
Other design requirements will include having shutters, when used, to actually be either working or appear to be working “with appropriate hardware”; window placement that demonstrates “a discernible rhythm on all exterior elevations”; disallowing “blank walls” of 20 feet or larger; roof overhangs of at least eight inches; and covered porches, if used, of at least six feet in depth.
“For many years, the City has implemented minimum architectural guidelines for commercial development, but remained largely silent on residential development,” Wismer wrote.
Thursday’s meeting is scheduled to begin at 7 p.m. at City Hall.