The Batavia Plan Commission this week approved the final design for the One North Washington Place apartment and store building downtown.
It spent more than three hours discussing the details of materials, colors, landscaping, trim, downspouts, exits, wheelchair ramps and more with the building's architect and a representative of the developer.
But it could not discuss the height of the building or its size, per the direction of the city council.
"We're not supposed to talk about traffic, parking, mass, height. It really ties our hands," commission chairman Tom LaLonde said.
David Patzelt, president of developer Shodeen Inc., agreed to add more reddish material to the facades on the Wilson and River streets sides of the building; to tone down the yellow parts of the facades to more of a cream or almond color; to add some stone trim to the roof of a bell tower; and to have downspouts match the color of the trim to which they are adjacent.
But he declined to take LaLonde's suggestions about removing some gables, or using more masonry on the building.
In March, the plan commission suggested ways to reduce the appearance of the size and height of the building, and asked about materials to be used on the exterior. But Patzelt had not brought samples that night. The commission offered to continue discussion and delay its vote, but the developer didn't want that. So the commission rejected the design.
Shodeen appealed to the city council, which on April 12 sent the matter back to the plan commission with firm instruction to work things out, and to not talk about building size and height, because the council had already approved those.
Shodeen could appeal the conditions the commission set Wednesday, but seems unlikely to, based on its conversation with the commission and a chat with the city's community development director, Scott Buening. The design may need a stamp of approval from the Historic Preservation Commission, since it has changed since they approved it, Buening said.
It does not, however, need to go back to the city council.
Commissioners Wednesday repeatedly said they felt they had to vote affirmatively on the design because of the city council's instruction.
"Obviously, that's all we are allowed to talk about this evening is color," Commissioner Gene Schneider said.