After about 12 months of drafting, editing and refining it looks as if the Downtown Design Guidelines are actually ready for publication. If you didn’t happen to remember, Main Street Kent thought the design guidelines were a natural fit with their mission so they volunteered to lead this effort and they partnered with the City to hire a consultant with experience in developing guidelines to manage the Kent project. The consultant held meetings with downtown businesses and with the general public to gather a sense of what the community was expecting and wanted to see in the design guidelines.
Initially the design guidelines are just that — guidelines — but there are folks who think these should be adopted as mandatory. To do that would probably require setting up a new design review process for site plans and/or permits for new construction in the central business district to evaluate conformance with the guidelines. Right now City Council just wanted to adopt them as guidelines but I would not be surprised to see the issue of mandatory re-emerge down the road.
The final product turned out very good and I’d encourage you to at least take a thumbnail tour of the document: