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The guidelines are a component of the nearly 40-year-old Commercial Street Historic District Development Plan.
Photo courtesy city of Springfield
The guidelines are a component of the nearly 40-year-old Commercial Street Historic District Development Plan.

Council adopts revised guidelines for C-Street projects

Posted online

Springfield City Council on Monday night unanimously adopted an updated version of the Commercial Street Historic District Design Guidelines, which includes added parameters for new construction in the district.

The approved guidelines outline that new construction should follow the consistent orientation of buildings along the street, be similar in height, scale and exterior finishing, and offer ground-floor retail and commercial space. The revisions also include details related to acceptable window treatments.

The guidelines are a component of the Commercial Street Historic District Development Plan, which was passed in 1982. The Commercial Street Historic District, which is on both the National Register of Historic Places and the Springfield Historic Register, runs from Lyon Avenue to Washington Avenue. The designation makes the district – including exterior alterations – subject to Landmarks Board review, according to bill documents.

Along with the Secretary of Interior’s Standards, the design guidelines are used by applicants, architects and contractors to submit project proposals for evaluation and approval by the Landmarks Board. The parameters are intended to preserve the district’s historic significance while facilitating economic revitalization, according to bill documents.

Planning and Development Director Mary Lilly Smith said at the council meeting that the city felt it was necessary to bring the previously set guidelines – which were nearly 40 years old – up to date.

“There are several vacant lots in the district and so we thought it was important to recognize what should be considered when considering new construction,” Smith said. “It's not intended to discourage contemporary architecture, but new construction should recognize some of the rhythms that are important to the district.”

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