Revisions to Duluth’s Unified Development Code include a new visibility zone to keep business windows open to the public. (Courtesy City of Duluth)

Duluth modifies unified development code

Following a recent public hearing, the Duluth City Council voted to approve modifications to the city’s Unified Development Code.

Changes include architectural and design guidelines in the Central Business District that will allow no more than 25 percent stucco on any exterior wall surface and includes updates to the architectural standards for townhomes. Updates also include revised guidelines for small cell wireless facilities.

A new guideline concerns architectural treatments at local businesses for pedestrian windows. This will require transparent windows and doorways for no less than 25 percent of the street frontage at the ground level and allow visibility to the inside of the building. This visibility zone is located between 4 feet and 8 feet in height above sidewalk level and extends 4 feet from the surface of the window glass inside the building. Businesses already in violation of this regulation are ‘grandfathered’ in, but the city has ideas on how to get property owners to improve the aesthetics. The council noted that fully covered windows that limit the visibility zone are a potential indicator of unwanted behavior and is seen as a public safety concern.

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