Town of Fishkill, NY
Dutchess County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
A. 
Design guidelines provide a basis for planning, design and evaluation of development proposals. They are intended to assist residents, developers, design professionals, and the Town's boards with the review and approval of projects. While the Town's Zoning Code determines what uses are appropriate as well as the location and density of both residential and nonresidential development, the manner in which these uses are designed and developed can be even more important and will have a lasting effect on the Town's appearance, function and the quality of life of its residents.
B. 
As Fishkill grows and changes, the Town should ensure that new development enhances, rather than detracts from the appearance of the community. Elements of the built environment, such as architecture, signage, lighting, parking, and the layout of development have a lasting impact on a community's sense of place. When well designed, these elements can enhance the visual quality and aesthetic character of the Town.
C. 
When applicants are provided with clear direction about a community's preferred designs and the type of development desired at the beginning of the approval process, before extensive engineering and design work has been conducted, projects are more likely to developed that have community support. These guidelines clarify what is expected and acceptable, thereby simplifying and speeding up the site plan approval process for both applicants and boards. The result is high quality design that creates enduring value, builds civic pride and enhances and builds on Fishkill's heritage.
D. 
Where specific standards exist within other chapters of the Fishkill Code, such specific standards shall take precedence over design guidelines.
E. 
The Dutchess County Greenway Guides shall be considered in all discussion related to design.
A. 
All facades of a building, other than the front facade, that have a secondary or primary entrance usable by patrons or the public, or that will be seen from any public right-of-way, shall have design details which continue elements visible on the front facade of the building.
B. 
In keeping with the desired pedestrian scale, developments with facades over 50 feet in horizontal length should be designed to visually reduce the scale and mass of the building by architecturally dividing and/or providing projecting or recessing architectural features to the facade to break up the flat plane of the building.
C. 
Multistory buildings should be designed to extend the horizontal alignment of key architectural details such as window openings, caps, cornices and entablatures with neighboring buildings.
D. 
The front facade of a building should be set back similar distances from the street as neighboring structures, unless greater setbacks are being proposed to create a public square or open space and increase the amount of linear commercial frontage along the street.
E. 
Buildings shall be designed to have a clear base, middle and top, with horizontal elements separating each.
Clear Expression of Building Elements
F. 
Coordination of the height of new buildings or substantial reconstruction projects with the actual and apparent height of adjacent structures is encouraged, especially where buildings will adjoin or be close to each other. Coordination of building height can often be achieved by adjusting the height of a wall, cornice or parapet line to match that of the adjacent building. Similar design linkages can be achieved to adjust apparent height by placing window lines, belt courses, and other horizontal elements in a pattern that reflect the same elements on neighboring buildings.
Contextual Building Design
All rooftop utilities or other equipment should be concealed from view of pedestrians, car traffic and existing residential units which may be located at higher elevations on adjacent lots. Mansard or gabled roofs are generally preferred for detached structures. Flat roofs should have a parapet cap and cornice appropriate to the architectural style of the building. More ornamental architectural details such as dentils, corbels and an ornamental frieze are encouraged and may exceed the maximum height requirement.
If feasible, all original windows shall be maintained and remain uncovered; this should include transoms often found above doorways in many buildings. Replacement windows shall have similar features as the originals and shall be appropriate to the architectural style of the building. Maintaining architectural style may also include retention of decorative features surrounding windows such as sills, lintels, shutters or other elements. Windows that are different sizes from the original and require facade modification are discouraged.
A. 
The use of traditional building materials such as stone, brick or wood for facade treatments (and/or environmentally-friendly "green" building materials that closely resemble traditional materials) are preferred. Prefabricated aggregate stone shall not be permitted.
B. 
Stucco shall be used where it is traditional to the architectural style proposed. For example, stucco is appropriate to Tudor and Spanish Revival styles among others, but not appropriate to Greek Revival and Victorian styles, among others.
C. 
Wrought iron, copper or other metalwork can be used in detailing for items such as railings, balconies or other architectural details but shall not be used for visible doors or siding.
D. 
A combination of materials may be used, but the entire building should be of the same architectural style.
E. 
Plain concrete blocks shall not be visible on any outer facade of a building. Decorative concrete block is permitted.
F. 
Bright or neon colors and black shall be avoided.
G. 
Fabric awnings are permitted with steel supports over windows or storefronts. Colors and lettering on all awnings shall be uniform.
A. 
To prevent glare, protect the night sky, reduce energy waste, and enhance the Town's nighttime character, lighting standards based on recommendations of the Illuminating Engineering Society of North America (IES) and International Dark Sky Association shall be utilized:
B. 
Full shielding of lighting that eliminates glare, especially off-site, with no light above the horizontal level into the night sky should be provided wherever possible.
C. 
Mercury vapor and low pressure sodium fixtures, as well as laser lighting or searchlights for advertising purposes should be avoided.
D. 
Encourage lighting that accents distinctive architectural features, but discourage "uplighting" or illuminated banding that is primarily for advertising purposes.
E. 
High pressure sodium or LED lighting is most efficient for highway lighting; metal halide is preferred for commercial and pedestrian areas to give better color quality; incandescent bulbs can be used for low wattage (under 150) accent/specialty lights.
F. 
Main street and pedestrian area lighting shall be designed to not exceed 15 feet in height; parking lot lights shall not exceed 20 feet. Lighting fixtures should be spaced at approximately four times the height of the fixture.
G. 
Outdoor signs shall be lighted from the top. Where internally lit signs are permitted, dark backgrounds and light lettering produce less glare and are easier to read.
H. 
Exceptions will be considered for stadium lighting and other specialty activities, short-term events, and tree lighting or other decorative bulbs under 75 watts. Lighting levels shall comply with the recommendations of the IES for playing fields.
I. 
Lighting should be provided around all building entrances, walkways and any outdoor seating or dining area. Light fixtures should match the architectural style of the building.
Stadium lighting solutions
J. 
Fully shielded fixtures, such as the "light-structure green" stadium fixtures shown above, minimize light spillage on adjacent properties. Since they are more energy efficient, they are also less expensive to operate.
POOR LIGHTING EXAMPLES
GOOD LIGHTING EXAMPLES
A. 
Parking can complement the building and street if it does not visually dominate the site. Adequate but not excessive off-street parking shall be provided for new development.
B. 
Parking lots shall be screened from roads and adjacent residential uses. Planting of trees, shrubs and generous landscaping within and surrounding parking lots shall be required.
C. 
Continuous landscaping treatment along any frontage with street trees and low plantings and denser evergreens or fencing along residential neighbors is encouraged.
D. 
Parking lots should be designed to enhance the appearance of the community. Applicants who wish to exceed maximum parking requirements shall balance the increase with enhanced landscaping, screening and innovative design.
E. 
To the extent possible, parking lots shall be located behind, to the side or underneath buildings and featuring quality landscaping along the frontage.
F. 
The emphasis in parking lot design should be on dispersion on a site to reduce impacts.
G. 
The construction of parking groves and parking courts, with a significant number of shade trees and surrounded by low hedges, stone walls or attractive fencing is encouraged:
(1) 
Divide the rows with planting strips and tree islands, averaging one tree to every six to 10 parking spaces.
(2) 
At least 15% of the inside area for larger lots should be landscaped with trees and other plants.
H. 
The use of bricks, pavers, or textured surfaces for crosswalks and stalls, with grass block overflow areas is encouraged to breakup blacktop areas and reduce stormwater runoff.
I. 
New curb cuts are discouraged and should not be permitted unless necessary.
J. 
Where a drive crosses over a sidewalk or other pedestrian thoroughfare, the pavement shall have a crosswalk with a distinct surface treatment such as pavers or Belgian Block or shall be stamped and painted to look the same and drop curbs shall be installed.
K. 
The creation of shared parking between adjacent uses is strongly encouraged. Access drives shall be located at the edge of properties so they can be easily shared with an adjacent use if feasible.
L. 
View of dumpsters, utility and other equipment from the street shall be minimized to the extent possible and shall be landscaped or otherwise enclosed.
Screening with Architectural Walls & Trellis
Screening with Hedges & Trees
Preferred Parking Configurations
On-Street Parking through Streetscape and Access Management
Inefficient Parking and Access Conditions
A. 
All requirements of other chapters of the Fishkill Code shall be met, and, where competing standards exist, the requirements of such other chapters shall take precedence over any design guidelines contained herein.
B. 
Pole signs, pylon signs and all other detached permanent signs are discouraged.
C. 
Nonilluminated movable signs, such as sandwich boards which are less than four feet in height and constructed mainly of wood, may be displayed within a front setback.
D. 
Canopy signs and hanging signboards are generally preferred. Window signage should not exceed 15% of the total front-facade window area. Hanging signs should be mounted perpendicular to the building facade and may extend above the public sidewalk.
A. 
Internal light poles should be uniform in appearance.
B. 
Light poles shall be spaced no further than 80 feet on center.
C. 
Light poles shall be 12 to 18 feet in height.
D. 
Fixtures should be cutoff-type and cast a minimal amount of light upwards. Full cutoff fixtures are preferred but not required; the lighting plan should be designed to avoid casting significant light into upper-story windows.
E. 
Low-wattage lamps are preferable to high-output lights, and no lamp should exceed 250 watts.
F. 
All multistructure sites will provide trash receptacles on at least one corner where a sidewalk crosses an internal drive. At least one trash receptacle shall be located for every 300 feet of continuous internal sidewalk. A trash receptacle shall be placed adjacent to any sitting area or bench or near the entrance of any restaurant (take-out or dine-in) which may be located in an internal shopping plaza.
G. 
All multistructure sites will provide benches which may be spread throughout the site or together in a sitting area. Benches can be wood, metal or another material made to look like wood or metal. Benches should incorporate design elements to discourage abuse by skateboarders, including seating surfaces comprised of slats running perpendicular with the long axis of the seating area or multiple arm rails.
H. 
A long-term redesign program can gradually transform commercial strips into mixed-use centers with each successive site plan application. With buildings up front, attractive architecture, wall signs and sidewalks can be featured along the street, rather than parking lots and large signs.
A. 
Ensure that new residential subdivisions are designed as pleasant, walkable neighborhoods.
B. 
Homes designed with the garage as the prominent architectural feature, dominating the view from the street, sometimes referred to "snout houses" are discouraged and should be avoided whenever possible.
C. 
Encourage front porches that open onto the street.
D. 
Encourage the placement of garages to hide vehicles and create a more pedestrian-friendly environment.
E. 
Multifamily developments should be encouraged to be designed as row houses with garages accessed by rear alleys, or as garden courts with buildings.
F. 
Underground utility boxes shall be screened or be located fully below ground.
G. 
Homes should be sited around a site's natural features wherever possible. To fit development into the landscape, buildings should be placed on the edges of fields or woods, or on the slopes of ridges and hills. Situating a home in a highly visible location, such as the middle of a wooded area or the crest of a hill, intrudes on the rural landscape and detracts from scenic views, as illustrated below:
Hilltop Siting — Avoid
Hillside Siting — Preferred
H. 
In new subdivisions, discourage the conversion of indigenous plant life on a site to manicured lawns and gardens using nonnative and/or nonindigenous plants.
I. 
As much existing vegetation as possible shall be preserved in all new developments to create a more established look in new neighborhoods. Stone walls, hedgerows, and other rural landscape elements shall be preserved wherever possible.
J. 
Buildings and access roads shall be placed within treelines, on mildly sloping ground, or along the edges of fields wherever possible. Construction in open fields or on ridgelines shall be avoided.
K. 
Structures and septic systems shall be located more than 100 feet from streams or ponds to protect water quality.
L. 
Farm roads or country lanes shall be reused whenever possible, rather than constructing new wide roads.