D. GUIDELINES FOR PROTECTING HISTORIC STREETSCAPES A primary purpose of the Historic District Ordinance
and these Design Guidelines is to preserve the historical character
of streetscapes within the Historic District. Streetscapes are the public
spaces formed by buildings along streets in an urban setting. These outdoor,
linear rooms have buildings as walls, street and sidewalk paving as flooring,
the sky as a ceiling, lighting provided by the sun by day and street lights
by night, and furnishings consisting of vegetation, planters, building
stoops and steps, benches, trash receptors, automobile signage, and other
accessory items (Figure
74). Streetscapes are dynamic and change with the weather, time of
day, and season. The public perception of a neighborhood, city block,
or historic district is formed by the quality of the streetscapes. The
quality of a streetscape is formed by both the character of the buildings
that define the street space and the character of the outdoor ground surfaces,
vegetation, walls, fences, and furnishings that enrich the space. In the
West Chester Historic District, the historic streetscapes are rich with
building-material textures, interesting paving, vegetation, and streets
that relate to the pedestrian more than the automobile.
1. Fences Wood picket, vertical board, stockade, and ornamental
iron fences are found in the Historic District (Figures
75 and 76).
Split-rail fences, chain-link fences, and plastic fences are not appropriate
in the Historic District except on rear areas of lots. Fences along street
fronts and near buildings should be refined or ornamental, and should
allow views of the yard and building. Fences for rear and side yards may
be more opaque. Gates should be designed to swing into the private walkway
or driveway, not onto the public sidewalk. Fences along side and rear
lot lines may be constructed of rough board, plank, or welded wire fabric
2. Retaining Walls Retaining walls visible from a public way should
be built with traditional masonry materials (Figure
78). If retaining walls are not visible from the public way, railroad
ties, pressure-treated lumber, and decorative concrete block may be considered.
3. Sidewalk Paving The preservation of historic brick paving along
streets is encouraged (Figure
79). If the historic brick paving must be replaced, the installation
of new brick paving in traditional brick patterns is highly recommended
80). New sidewalk paving materials and patterns should be consistent
across the breadth of a lot along the street, unless the lot has a driveway.
4. Curb Cuts, Driveways, and
Off-Street Parking Curb cuts and off-street parking areas should be
carefully planned to protect the historical character of the district.
Curb cuts, driveways, and off-street parking should be located off side
or rear alleys, not the street. The removal of mature landscaping and
trees to provide parking areas is discouraged.
5. Plant Materials Landscape plantings that are appropriate for the
period of the building are encouraged. New plant materials should not
obscure the view of principal facades. Climbing plants that cause deterioration
of exterior wall materials should be avoided.
Street trees should be carefully selected for their growth
pattern, drought and pollution resistance, and historical character. Trees
with very dense crowns, such as Bradford pear trees, are discouraged.
In general, deciduous trees such as lindens, gingkos, and sunburst locusts,
that have upright growth habits, relatively open crowns, and long lives,
are desirable. Oaks, maples, and other large hardwoods are desirable in
6. Decks and Patios Decks and patios should be constructed only on secondary
facades. The use of traditional materials such as wood and brick is recommended
for the construction of a deck or patio. The use of unpainted/unstained
pressure-treated wood or plastic is discouraged.
7. Landscape Planters and
Window Boxes The use of moveable landscape planters on porches
and stoops is encouraged. Landscape planters made of red clay, wood, or
tinted precast concrete are recommended, and should relate in size and
scale to their location.
Window boxes should be anchored in a manner that does
not damage historic brick masonry. Window boxes should simple in design
and of a color similar to the color of the building window trim. The size
should match the width of the window opening.
8. Street Furniture Street furniture such as benches, trash receptors,
and tables should be simple in character, constructed of wood and/or painted
metal, and be compatible with the style and scale of adjacent buildings
and outdoor spaces.