City adopts new standards for metal buildings

By Tonya Garner: CNJ staff writer

The idea is to improve the appearance of Clovis.

The means is upsetting to at least one city official.

In a Nov. 3 meeting, city commissioners approved the adoption of an ordinance that will mandate the minimum design standards and guidelines for metal buildings. The vote was 7-1.

City Inspector Pete Wilt introduced the ordinance on Oct. 6 with little discussion among the commissioners.

Wilt said the main purpose of the new ordinance is “aesthetic.”

“I know the entrances to Clovis are not the best,” Wilt said. “But we are working to improve Clovis however we can.”

According to the ordinance, the only metal buildings affected are ones facing arterial or collector streets. Arterial streets are defined as a main road or channel with many branches. Examples of Clovis arterial streets are 21st, Prince and Thornton streets. Commerce and Sycamore streets are considered collector streets. Collector streets differ from arterial streets by having a wider right-of-way, Wilt said.

Commissioner Robert Sandoval cast the lone vote against the ordinance.

“I was not elected to tell people how they should paint or design their buildings,” Sandoval said. “As long as it’s safe and neighbors are not complaining then I see no problem.”

Sandoval said he represents the “poorest” district in Clovis and he is concerned the ordinance is sending the wrong message to prospective business owners. “Small businesses are struggling as it is,” Sandoval said. “I just don’t think we should tell them what kind of building they can use if it’s safe.”

Sandoval said he feels the adoption of this ordinance will not be good for the economic development of Clovis.

Wilt said all existing metal buildings are considered “grandfathered in” and building owners would not be required to make any changes unless they construct an addition equal to 50 percent of the gross floor area.

Wilt urged area residents to call his office with questions regarding the new ordinance.

Under the ordinance, new metal structures will be required to have an overhang that extends at least a foot over the sidewall and must include gutters and down spouts.

The buildings will also be required to feature full stucco or a 35 percent brick or stone overlay on any side adjacent to arterial and collector streets.

Wilt said the ordinance will also promote a variety of building designs by prohibiting repetitive facades. Buildings that sit side-by-side will be required to differ from each other in at least four out of eight possible ways. The options include surface material — such as stucco or brick — color of building, reversed floor plans, style of the roof, building height, location and shape of windows and doors, differences in porches or walls, or variation in the building’s distance from the curb.

Wilt said additional costs to new business owners who plan to construct a metal building will be minimal. “I have looked at the cost of materials,” Wilt said. “and it should not be an issue.”

Clovis Mayor David Lansford said he is a supporter of the ordinance.

“Its (the ordinance) intent is to maintain the visual quality of neighborhoods,” Lansford said. “It will protect property interest.”

The ordinance will apply to all buildings permitted after next Monday.