Maintaining Attractive Commercial Districts
Guidelines for Screening Vacant Ground Floor Storefront Windows in the Central Business District (B5) & the Ravinia Business District (B2-RW)
Revised March 16, 2015
In 2005, to maintain pedestrian interest that defines the spirit and intent of the City’s B5 Central Business District and B2-RW Ravinia Business District, the City Council approved an ordinance establishing Chapter 110 and amendments to Article XX of Chapter 150 of the “The Highland Park Code of 1968”, as amended, pertaining to storefront window screening of vacant ground floor premises, to require any person owning, leasing, maintaining, or in possession or control of any vacant, ground floor premises located within the B5 or B2-RW zoning districts in the City, or any owner of the lot upon which the vacant, ground floor premises is located within the B5 or B2-RW zoning districts in the City to be responsible for installing screening within their vacant ground floor storefront windows to obstruct the view into their empty tenant space.
On August 11, 2014, the City Council approved amendments to Chapter 110 and Article XX of Chapter 150 of the “The Highland Park Code of 1968”, as amended, to improve the image of vacant storefronts and the City’s pedestrian oriented shopping districts; and update, modernize, and clarify the existing provisions; and reflect existing procedures and practices.
The following information may be used to assist property owners in creating and installing window screening:
- Any person owning, leasing, maintaining, or in possession or control of any vacant, ground floor premises located within the City’s B5 or B2-RW zoning districts, or any owner of the lot upon which the vacant, ground floor premises is located within the City’s B5 or B2-RW zoning districts is required to install window screening made of film, vinyl, poly-mat, canvas or heavy duty paper placed on the inside of the window or within the window the area of their vacant storefront. It is recommended that this window screening be fabricated and installed by a graphics or sign company.
- Screening must be installed not more than 15 days after the date on which the ground floor premises first became vacant.
- Window screening shall consist of graphic elements, words, or letters.
- No window screening shall contain any words or letters, or a depiction, that, when considered as a whole, predominantly appeals to prurient interests.
- A window display shall not be considered to be a window sign as defined in Section 150.2005(B)(11).
- Window screening installed in compliance with Chapter 110 shall not be considered to be a window sign.
- Window screening may not contain off-site advertising, as that term is defined in Section 150.2005 of Chapter 150 of the City Code and as specified in Section 150.2027 of Chapter 150 of the City Code.
- Window screening must obstruct the view into the vacant storefront by occupying not less than 80% of the window area.
- Visible adhesive or tape may not be used to affix any window screening to a storefront window.
- A real estate sign that complies with the sign area and sign height requirements of Section 150.2024 of Chapter 150 of the City Code may be placed in a storefront window along with the window screening required pursuant to Section 110.002 of this Chapter.
- Real estate signage or window screening that blocks any window area required for light, ventilation, or emergency exit are prohibited in vacant storefronts.
- Business identification signage of the business that vacated the premises must be removed.
- After a vacant storefront is leased, the new occupant may install window screening that includes the text “Future Home of (Business Name)” or (Business Name) Coming Soon” in the window in conformance with Article XX Chapter 150, of the City’s Zoning Ordinance.
- Upon request, the City can provide the responsible party with a list of contractors that have previously installed window screening within the City. This list is not intended to be a recommendation or a guarantee of workmanship.
Any person owning, leasing, maintaining, or in possession or control of any vacant, ground floor premises located within the B5 or B2-RW zoning districts in the City, or any owner of the lot upon which the vacant, ground floor premises is located within the B5 or B2-RW zoning districts in the City is responsible for keeping the vacant storefronts neat, clean, attractive and lighted; and all storefront window glass of the premises shall be kept clean.
The City of Highland Park appreciates your commitment to maintaining an attractive storefront during the time in which it remains vacant. Should you have any questions regarding vacant storefront window screening, please contact Business Development Coordinator Carolyn Hersch at 847. 926.1027, or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
EXAMPLES OF COMPLIANT VACANT STOREFRONTS
EXAMPLE OF ACCEPTABLE WINDOW SCREENING FOR A STORE THAT IS COMING SOON:
EXAMPLES OF NON-COMPLIANT STOREFRONTS