C/B-2A District Design Guidelines


Prepared For: Village of Gurnee, Illinois

Prepared By: Village of Gurnee Plan Commission,
Zoning Board of Appeals
With Technical Assistance From
Rolf C. Campbell & Associates
Planning Consultants


The guidelines set forth herein are established to provide criteria which Plan Commissioners, Village Trustees, Village staff, developers and property owners should consider when reviewing or developing plans in the Village Center Overlay District. The purpose of these criteria is to establish those items or elements that affect the physical appearance in the C/B-2A. Of critical import to the appearance of a development are overall site planning issues, building design elements, landscaping, and signage.

These design guidelines have been developed to assist developers in focusing on design elements that may be utilized in the implementation of the Village's Comprehensive Plan goals for the Village Center and fulfilling the purpose of the Village Center Overlay District.


1. Building Location

  • Building setbacks of new structures should relate to those of existing, adjacent structures. They should be constructed at a distance not more than 5 percent in front of or behind the existing setbacks of adjacent buildings.
  • When developing lots adjacent to buildings having significantly greater setbacks than other buildings on the street, new buildings should be located in compatible relationships to the lesser setback structures.
  • Peripheral Setbacks (from Washington Street, O'Plaine Road, Brookhaven Road, Greenhaven Lane, and areas abutting residential
    • 30-foot building and parking setbacks shall be provided along these streets and at the specified locations. Within the setbacks, these areas shall be landscaped and should provide open space, sidewalks, bicycle paths, and other features to enhance pedestrian access.

2. Building Orientation and Scale

  • Locate the major façade and/or major entrance of a building on the side facing the primary pedestrian access.
  • Consider the directional expression of adjacent buildings. Building design may give a predominantly vertical, horizontal or non-directional expression to a building façade. The directional expression of buildings in the C/B-2A should complement that of adjacent buildings.
  • Design buildings to the nearest half-story of adjacent buildings.
  • Floor levels of new buildings should relate and be consistent with the floor levels of existing adjacent structures


3. Parking Lot Location and Design

General Guidelines

  • Parking areas are not permitted in front of or in the front yard of a structure. This area is intended for landscaping and pedestrian amenities. Instead, parking facilities should be located in the rear yard of a lot. Side yards may be considered if rear yard parking lots are not feasible.
  • Parking lots must be designed with interior landscaped islands to break up large expanses of pavement.

All parking lots shall be screened from public ways as described in the landscaping section herein.

  • Parking lots and sites in the C/B-2A generally shall consider the needs of bicyclists for parking and accessing buildings.

Specific Guidelines

  • All off street parking areas and vehicular parking aisles or driveways which parallel Washington Street and/or O'Plaine Road or abut residential neighborhood shall be setback a minimum of 30 feet.
  • All off street parking areas shall be setback a minimum of 20 feet from the front of a building and ten feet from the side or rear of a building. Off street parking areas located in interior side yards and corner side yards shall be set back from a front or corner side lot line a minimum of ten (10) feet.
  • Off street parking lots shall be located to the side and/or rear of buildings.
  • On street parking, either parallel or at and angle of 45 degrees, will be considered in appropriate locations.
  • Bicycle parking shall be provided as required by the Zoning Administrator.


Exterior Characteristics

Building Roofs

  • Roof Form: Design buildings with hipped, gable or gambrel roofs. Flat roofed structures are not encouraged.
  • Roof Coverings: Asphalt shingle, cedar shake, or slate tile roofing should be used on all hipped, gable or gambrel roofs. Corrugated tin or aluminum or preformed metal and other tile roofs are not compatible with the design goals of the C/B-2A.
  • Roof Coverings Color: Avoid the use of overly colorful roofing material.


  • Wall Materials: Exterior walls should be constructed of wood, brick, or a combination of the two materials.
  • Wood Walls: Clapboard or other wood siding should be used with horizontal placement.


  • Use a limited number of colors on a single structure. Muted or natural tones (or earth tones) are attractive during all seasons of the year. Painting elements such as windows, trim and cornices in white, gray or black may complement the main building color.
  • Color should be compatible with that of neighboring structures.


  • Windows should be proportionate to the scale of proposed buildings.
  • Aluminum, steel, or vinyl cased wood windows may be used. They should have an appropriate finish and color which is a part of the overall color scheme of the structure.
  • Clear glass is the only type of glass permitted for windows.
  • Window shutters may be used but should appear to be capable of properly covering the windows.

Features to Enhance Pedestrian Orientation

  • Pedestrian Access Orientation - minimum 12-foot sidewalks shall be provided to the front and sides of all buildings.
  • First floor building setbacks should be greater than second floor setbacks to provide for protection of pedestrians from weather conditions and to enhance the pedestrian experience.
  • Use of second floor balconies/porches for coverage of sidewalks
  • Use of awnings, canopies or other design features


  • The color of the elements buffering around ventilation, building utility services, trash dumpsters, etc., should be subdued and harmonize with the building color and design.
  • Antennas, towers and satellite dishes must be screened.
  • Exterior building lights and other architectural details should be compatible with the architecture of the building and the district.
  • Rooftop and surface mounted mechanical equipment shall be screened from view.


Landscape elements included in these criteria consist of all forms of planting and vegetation, ground forms, rock groupings, water features, and all visible construction except buildings and utilitarian structures.

  • Landscape plans shall consider the landscaping treatment on adjacent properties. Unity of design within the district can be achieved by repeating the use of plant material from property to property.
  • Plants that are indigenous to the area should be used. Introduction of exotic species is discouraged.
  • The use of combinations of evergreen and deciduous shrubs is encouraged for a year-round effect.
  • In locations where plants will be susceptible to injury by pedestrian or motor traffic, plants shall be protected by curbs, tree guards or other devices.
  • Always screen parking areas. This can be accomplished by the use of berms planted with trees and/or shrubs. Decorative walls or fences may also be a means of screening.
  • The interior of parking lots should include landscaped islands and perimeter landscaping. These islands should include at least one tree and/or shrub cluster.
  • Hardscape elements such as benches, sculptures, lighting, water features should be selected to assure compatibility with the district character.
  • Landscaping, street furniture, lighting, special paving, and other features to enhance pedestrian orientation shall be included in plans, such as:
    • Large street trees - 3 inch or greater
    • Raised planters which also provide seating areas
    • Sidewalk benches
    • Traditional Village of Gurnee light poles
    • Pavers for sidewalks and cross walks
    • Drinking fountains
    • Bicycle parking elements
    • Open space plazas with water features and landscaping

D. SIGNS (examples of sign types, see below)

The requirements for signs in the C/B-2A District are set forth in the Village Zoning and Sign Ordinances.