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N. Miami May Curb Business Paint Colors

Friday, December 21, 2012

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Sunny Florida hosts some of the most colorful buildings in the United States.

But a new ordinance threatens to change that—at least, for some 1,900 businesses in North Miami Beach.

North Miami Beach
Marc Averette / Wikimedia Commons

North Miami Beach wants to regulate what colors business owners paint their properties. The current assortment includes "unsightly" colors, backers say.

“A pattern of unsightly exterior paint colors” used by businesses prompted city officials to give preliminary approval Tuesday (Dec. 18) to regulations dictating the colors that businesses can use in commercially zoned districts.

A final vote is expected soon.

“I think that we need colors that are more palatable for the city,” Councilwoman Barbara Kramer told The Miami Herald.

Proposed Guides

Under the proposed rule, when a business wants to paint its property in one of the commercial zones, the chosen color would have to have a light reflectance value of 35 or greater for the “base” of the building. A base constitutes a single surface area of 20 percent or more of the total.

However, trim (a surface area less than 20 percent of the total) could be painted any solid color. Trim includes the fascia, window frames, doorframes, doors and eaves.

Although businesses are already required to obtain a permit to paint the exterior of their building, the new ordinance would require them to bring in paint samples for approval.

“The city wishes to objectively control exterior paint colors in commercial zoning districts,” according to a memorandum to city officials from Shari Kamali, the city’s director of public services.

North Miami Beach nixed a more stringent version of the ordinance in 2010.

Why LRV?

The proposed paint rules are based on light reflectance value (LRV), a measure of the proportion of useful light reflected by a color. The range of values, generally measured in daylight, is from 0 percent (darkest) to 100 (lightest).

light reflective value
colorbudz.com

Light Reflectance Value is a measurement that indicates how much light a color reflects and absorbs. The city ordinance would require a paint color with a 35 percent or greater LRV for a building exterior.

Using an LRV method “eliminates subjectivity of reviewing numerous colors on a color chart," the city maintains.

Paint makers assign an LRV to each color, and that would be compared to the color requirement regulations, city officials noted.

“A byproduct of using lighter color shades of colors is that the higher the reflective value of a color, the greater the energy efficiency for cooling costs,” Roslyn Weisblum, the city manager, wrote in an interoffice memorandum.

The potential law would not affect businesses until they decide to pull a permit to repaint the exterior of their buildings, the city said.

Corporate Colors?

Concerns have been raised regarding how the new regulations would affect franchises that operate in the city, but city planner Chris Heid said national chains “shouldn’t be affected,” The Miami Herald reported.

“Corporations don’t want you to know there is plenty of play within their corporate colors or corporate signs,” Heid told the news outlet.

Proposal Fails in South Carolina

North Miami Beach is not alone in its quest for color control.

Officials in York City and Lake Wylie, SC, imposed a temporary ban on painting commercial properties to study the issue of color in building codes back in early September.

However, proposed regulations banning unwanted color schemes were not implemented, according to reports.

The building at the center of that controversy was a bright neon yellow and green title loan business.

   

Tagged categories: Color; Color selection; Commercial Buildings; Design; Exterior coatings; Exterior painting; Regulations

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