, Muskogee, OK

June 4, 2013

Design standards will pay off

— Revamping exterior design standards for new commercial and industrial structures will help economic development.

Muskogee planning commissioners are working to recommend changes to the city’s zoning and building regulations.

The commissioners have reviewed exterior design standards.

They are attempting to define acceptable color schemes and whether to allow reflective surfaces as a facade.

The stated goal of the proposed changes is to improve the city’s looks and the curb appeal of new structures while reclassifying zones to conform with the future land use map.

The commissioners must strike a balance between conformity and making the rules cost prohibitive, which would limit economic development.

Muskogee needs guidelines to ensure that future buildings will be attractive to shoppers and residents.

Without some form of regulation, the chances increase that new structures could stunt economic growth.

It’s clear that most homeowners associations feel the need to create acceptable norms because a home outside of compliance would drop surrounding property values.

The same principle applies here — but maybe less about property taxes and more about potential sales tax revenues.

If shoppers are turned off by hideous colors or reflective glass surfaces, then neighboring store owners would surely have a drop-off in sales.

Potential business owners are looking for areas where they will attract the most traffic.

The review and proposed changes are important quality controls to encourage economic growth.