The North Miami Beach council gave preliminary approval to a new rule that would regulate what colors can be used by businesses in the commercial zoning districts.
The ordinance, which still needs to go before the council for a final vote, comes as a result of what city officials call “a pattern of unsightly exterior paint colors being used and maintained,” in those areas.
“I think that we need colors that are more palatable for the city,” Councilwoman Barbara Kramer.
Currently, commercial properties are required to obtain a permit to paint exteriors. But the actual paint colors are not regulated.
The proposed paint requirements are based on Light Reflectance Value, which is a measure of the proportion of useful light reflected by a color.
The range of values for LRV is from 0 percent being the most saturated to 100 percent being the lightest.
City Planner Chris Heid said he sometimes gets calls in the city about the bright colors sometimes used on businesses.
He said by using the LRV it will take "the guessing game out of it. It doesn’t have us look at samples and trying to match the color when someone comes in.”
When a business pulls a paint permit the color chosen must have a LRV of 35 or greater for the base of a building. The trim, which is defined as 20 percent of a building, is permitted to be any solid color.
The council denied a more stringent version of this proposed rule in 2010.
The potential law will not impact the roughly 1,900 businesses that operate in the city until they pull a permit to repaint their exterior, at which point business owners would have to comply with the new color pallet.
There was concern at the meeting about how the new regulations would impact franchises that operate within the city, but Heid said national chains shouldn’t be affected.
“Corporations don’t want you to know there is plenty of play within their corporate colors or corporate signs,” said Heid.
The potential new law would require businesses to bring in paint samples for approval when pulling the paint permit, along with the color’s LRV, which the city will look up if the business owner is not able to.
Heid said that although there are currently no color restrictions in the city most people who pull paint permits already come in with paint samples or color card.
“We’ve had great success with normally saying ‘this is a really nice color. Have you considered a shade or two lighter,’ and just move them up the card they bring in,” said Heid. “If they can go home with a paint color on the card they came in with they are usually pretty happy.”