Design Guidelines for Residential
Fullerton City Council
Chris Norby - Mayor
Peter Godfrey - Mayor Pro Tem
Don Bankhead - Councilmember
Jan Flory - Councilmember
Julie Sa - Councilmember
Fullerton Planning Commission
Charles Munson - Chairman
Paul Simons - Vice Chairman
Larry Ballard - Commissioner
John King, Jr. - Commissioner
James Ranii - Commissioner
Wade Richmond - Commissioner
Mary Sandoval - Commissioner
This set of design guidelines was adopted by the Fullerton City
Council by Ordinance 2886 on march 5, 1996 as part of an Amendment
to Chapter 15.17 of the Fullerton Municipal Code. Amendment A-1430
was a culmination of considerable study and public participation.
Staff of the Development Services Department - in partnership with
Fullerton Heritage, a local preservation organization - first drafted
proposed changes to the Zoning Ordinance to achieve two basic objectives:
1) to streamline the process of review for new construction and
rehabilitation work for property in the Citys residential
preservation zones and 2) to establish a set of guidelines that
would be used to indicate how proposed improvements should be designed
in keeping with the traditional character of these neighborhoods.
A public workshop was held to explain the proposed changes; the
60+ people attending this workshop, representing property owners
and residents from three separate neighborhoods, voiced overwhelming
support for these design guidelines. Subsequent public hearings
held before the Planning Commission and City Council were remarkable
for their lack of controversy, given the fact that the proposed
amendment would have a direct effect on the future of three residential
These design guidelines specifically apply to residential properties
found in three identified neighborhoods as shown by the shaded areas
on the following page. These shaded areas are classified with a
residential preservation zone - either R-2P or R-3P. For the properties
in these preservation zones, minor construction or improvements
that comply with the design guidelines may be approved by staff
from the Development Services Department without further review.
Only major additions or new residential dwellings proposed in the
preservation zones will be subject to a more formal review for approval
by the Redevelopment Design Review Committee.
The three identified
residential neighborhoods are characterized by post-World War I
working class housing: dwellings originally intended for households
with modest or middle incomes, of which most were built between
1920 and 1940. California bungalows are the predominant architectural
type in these neighborhoods, but other styles are also prevalent,
especially housing with a Spanish Colonial Revival design. Many
of the properties still exhibit the original housing essentially
intact with little alteration or addition, despite having a zoning
classification that has permitted a higher intensity of development.
In 1979, at
the request of residents in these neighborhoods, the City established
two new preservation zones - R-2P and R-3P - and applied them to
the properties of these neighborhoods.
allow more than one unit on each lot, but new construction is specified
to be in keeping with the traditional character of the area. The
adopted design guidelines are intended to indicate how new construction
and proposed improvements to existing buildings should be designed
to protect and retain the areas historical context - both
the prevailing streetscape, as well as the traditional building
styles found in these neighborhoods.
As an underlying
policy, the original architectural elements of existing residences
should be retained, repaired or restored rather than replaced. If
such elements cannot be repaired or recreated, the replacement should
be made with the original material when possible, but when necessary,
substitutions may be made with materials that match in design, texture
and color. Original materials shall be proven to be deteriorated
beyond reasonable repair before substitute materials can be considered.
It should be
noted that there are many other historic areas or districts in Fullerton
that could benefit from preservation actions such as an implementation
of these design guidelines. Any neighborhood which desired to be
classified with a type of residential preservation zone would be
given some measure of protection from intrusive development or inappropriate
design as afforded by these guidelines.
Guidelines For Residential Preservation Zones
second story addition in this photo, while massive, matches
the architectural features and provides a compatible design.
1100 block of West Whiting Avenue.
guidelines apply to all structures within the residential preservation
zones; they are in addition to the zoning standards applicable to
each property. These guidelines recognize that the significance
of the preservation zone results from the accumulation of historic
(pre-1940) structures, rather than the architecture of isolated
individual buildings. Therefore, the following criteria and standards
emphasize context and compatibility with the established pattern
of development in the evaluation of the design of building additions,
rehabilitations or new infill structures. The primary objective
is to retain and preserve features of the building site that are
important to the overall historic character of the neighborhood.
1. New construction
shall be designed in a style which is architecturally compatible
with the existing structures on the property and/or structures in
the immediate area.
2. New additions,
exterior alterations, or related new construction shall not destroy
historic features that characterize the property. The new work shall
be compatible with the existing in terms of the massing, size, scale
and architectural features, to protect the historic integrity of
the property and its surroundings.
3. When constructing
a detached garage, second unit and/or new infill construction, alternate
materials, such as hardboard siding, hardboard garage doors, high-density
polymer (foam), architectural elements can be used where such elements
and materials convey the visual appearance of the original feature.
4. For new development
involving a Significant Property, as defined by Fullerton Municipal
Code Section 15.48.020, any additions shall be undertaken in such
a manner that, if removed in the future, the historic structure
would be unimpaired.
second unit on a corner lot at Lincoln and Wilshire Avenues:
the principal facade of the new residence faces the public street.
- The principal facades of a new residence shall be those sides
facing public streets. These facades should be oriented parallel
to the street that they face.
b) Floor Elevations
- The height of the floor above-grade should be similar to the floor
height of neighboring properties. A raised floor foundation should
be used in construction of new habitable space whenever possible.
c) Facade Elements
- In the remodeling and the rehabilitation of an existing residence,
architectural elements, such as protruding bays, dormers, covered
porches, and various off-sets of the facade, should be preserved,
and in new construction, contemporary adaptations of such elements
may be appropriate.
- In order to preserve the facades of an existing residence and
to generally maintain the existing character of block faces, the
placement of building additions should be discouraged within the
yards adjoining public streets and should instead be confined to
side and rear yards which are generally out of public view.
of Facades and Elevations Facing a Public Street - Where air conditioning
units, mechanical equipment, stairways, new exits, additional windows,
or other such improvements must be added to accommodate a new use,
these elements should be added to the least visible portions of
the building. When exposed to view from the public street, such
elements should be screened or have an integrated design with the
Front Entrances and Porches
- Railings, moldings, tilework, carvings and other detailing and
architectural decorations on front entrances and porches should
be typical of the style and period of the residence.
residence on the 200 block of North Berkeley Avenue: a good
design of a railing to enclose a porch of a Craftsman bungalow.
- A front entrance or porch should not be permanently or fully enclosed.
Removable materials may be permitted on Craftsman, Victorian, and
California Bungalow-style residences, if they are designed to retain
the style and period of the architecture.
c) Style - Each
residence should retain a front porch or entry treatment with a
shape, roof form, materials, and colors that are typical of the
style and period of the residence. A front entrance or porch should
reflect the dominant horizontal or vertical form and profile of
residence on the 300 block of North Balcom Avenue: a good use
of columns in the rehabilitation of the porch.
- Columns should be permitted only as vertical supports near the
front entrance of the residence or as vertical supports for porches.
- Columns should be constructed of brick, stucco, wood, cut stone
or other materials that look typical of the style and period of
the residence. Metal materials are not generally acceptable for
columns. Used brick is generally not suitable for an exterior material.
c) Style - Columns
should be of a style typical of the style and period of the residence.
d) Width Dimensions
- The width of a column shaft at its widest point should be at least:
one-eighth of the height of the column for a one-story column, and
one-tenth of the height of the column for a two-story column.
Windows and Doors
residence on the 300 block of West Malvern Avenue: a new entry
door respects the prevailing features of the front facade.
a) Front Facade
Openings - The number of door openings in the front facade of the
main residence should not be increased. Each story of a front facade
of the main residence should contain at least two windows or one
window and a door.
b) Style - The
size, proportion and detailing of window and door openings located
on the front and side facades of the residence must be typical of,
and compatible with, the style and period of the residence. Single,
fixed plate glass windows should not be allowed except as part of
an original period design (e.g., transom windows and sidelights
are acceptable for a Craftsman Bungalow style or large picture windows
for a Spanish Revival style).
residence on the 200 block of North Princeton Avenue: a replacement
of the original dougle hung windows to a contemporary aluminum
frame does not meet the design guidelines.
- Shutters should be typical of the style and period of the residence
and generally match the size of the opening.
a) Slope and
Pitch - The degree and direction of roof slope and pitch should
be typical of the style and period of the structure. Flat roofs
may be permitted as appropriate (e.g., for Spanish Revival architecture,
covered porches or porte cocheres). Secondary roof forms for porches
or dormers should also be compatible in style and placement. Generally,
the roof form must be considered in the context of the existing
roof forms on adjacent buildings.
residence on the 300 block of West Whiting Avenue: the roof
of the second story addition repeats the pitch and design of
the original architecture.
b) Eaves and
Overhangs - A replacement roof on an existing residence should have
an overhang that is equal to the roof it replaces. Additions should
maintain the same style and design of overhang, brackets, and lookout
rafters. Exposed eaves, rafter tails, fascia design and material
should be compatible with the existing roof style.
and Materials - Roof patterns and material of a residence should
be typical of the architecture of the structure. Composition roofing
should have sufficient thickness and texture for appearance.
residence on the 100 block of North Berkeley Avenue: it exhibits
an appropriate type of composition shingle for the size of the
and Solar Panels - Skylights and solar panels should be permitted
only at locations that cannot be seen from public streets.
must be compatible with the style and period of the residence. Chimneys
on the front portion of a residence or on a corner side elevation
should be finished with fired brick, stucco, or other materials
that match or are compatible in texture, color and style with the
residence on the 100 block of North Cornell Aavenue: an example
of a remodel of a Craftsman bungalow not meeting the design
guidelines due to the use of vertical wood siding, improper
design and scale of posts supporting the roof, and the replacement
of original windows.
1. In teneral,
the only permitted facade materials are brick, wood siding, cut
stone, and stucco or plaster. The same materials should be used
on all sides of the residence. All facade treatments should be typical
of the style and period of the residence, and the level of detailing
shall be the same for all facades.
2. All exposed
brick on facades should be fired brick.
wood facades should be preserved as wood facades. Covering a
wood facade of an existing residence with stucco shall not be permitted.
4. Wood shingles
generally should not be permitted as a primary facade material,
but they may be used in gables and on columns and foundation skirts
in a manner that is typical of the style and period of the residence.
substitutes (e.g., fiberglass columns, tin cornices), will be considered
during project review; however, traditional detailing and intent
shall be maintained. Any improvements, restoration or additions
to an existing residence should duplicate traditional original details
and materials as accurately as possible.
1. All structures
should have a predominant (base) color; the exterior colors of a
residence should be compatible with, and complimentary to, the color
scheme of neighboring properties.
and metallic colors should not be used on the exterior of any structure.
3. The use and
color of stain should be typical of the architectural style and
period of the residence.
4. Brick surfaces
not previously painted should not be painted, unless it has been
determined through review that painting is absolutely necessary
to restore or preserve the brick or, when adding to or renovating
the existing residence, a replacement brick of similar color and
texture is not obtainable.
Fences and Walls
residence on the 400 block of East Wilshire Avenue: a good example
of a front yard fence for a Craftsman bungalow.
1. The top edge
of a fence must be along a line that is either horizontal or substantially
parallel to grade.
2. Fences and
walls located within the front yard setback area shall not exceed
36" in height. Fences and walls located along side and rear
yards shall not exceed six feet in height. Where there is a difference
in grade between adjacent properties, the maximum fence height shall
be six feet as measured from the high grade side and eight feet
as measured from the low grade side.
3. The color,
texture, pattern and dimensions of masonry walls, piers andpilasters
should match the masonry and mortar joints of the residence as nearly
as practicable. All exposed brick should be fire bricked. Walls
constructed with concrete masonry units should have a stucco finish
on any side facing the public street.
4. Wrought iron
and metal fences must be compatible with the style and period of
the residence. If a wrought iron or metal fence is painted, the
color should complement the color of the residence.
residence on the 100 block of North Yale Avenue: the design
of this front yard fence is not in keeping with the neighborhood.
5. Wooden fences
should have structural posts at least four inches in diameter (nominal
size). The side of a wooden fence facing a public street must be
the finished side. Wooden fences should be painted or stained a
color that is complementary to the residence.
Lancscape and Hardscape Features
1. The design
of the residential landscaping should have a variety of plant materials.
An automatic irrigation system should be installed for landscaping
within the front and side yards.
2. All private
sidewalks and curbing should be constructed of concrete or brick
that matches or is compatible in texture, color, and scoring with
the surrounding paving materials.
3. For driveways
in new development, the minimum permitted width within the front
yard is six feet; the maximum width is nine feet. The drivway should
be spaced a minimum of one foot from the property line of an adjacent
driveways are encouraged to break up the expanse of paving and to
provide increased landscaping. When used, the ribbon should
extend the majority of the driveway and have a minimum internal
grass width of 18 inches.
residence on the 400 block of West Malvern Avenue: a good use
of awnings and a ribbon driveway.
1. Port cochere
(covered entrance): An existing porte cochere should be preserved
as an architectural feature and not be enclosed by fences, gates,
or other structures or materials.