Appealing aesthetics rank high for many. People gravitate toward pleasant, welcoming and accented architecture and colorful and diverse landscaping.
The Parrish Commercial Village Overlay District, adopted in 2008, continues to provide residents -- and potential new residents and business owners -- with design standards that require "visually distinctive" commercial construction. Those designs must embrace the "historic, rural heritage" of the community via three architectual styles: Cracker, Folk Victorian and Florida Ranch.
A new Dollar General store approved by the village meets the Florida Cracker option with an appealing design instead of the usual cookie-cutter box outlet. The special zoning district's standards also cover signs, parking and other details -- to enhance the sense of community and forestall visual blight. Several other buildings in the village also hew to the regulations.
Bradenton's form-based code for zoning and architecture, adopted in 2011, is designed to compel similar architectural and landscaping standards. The code applies to the city's three community redevelopment areas (downtown, 14th Street and the central city).
These enlightened standards will help create more attractive, liveable communities and prevent odd and glaring juxtipositions -- think low-rise suburban bank by a high-rise office building.