Medina approves regulations for murals in Downtown Historic District

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 29 March 2021 at 9:43 am

Projects not allowed on sandstone and will include $100 application fee

Photos by Tom Rivers: Chuck Tingley in October is shown working on his “Fake It Til You Make It!” mural on the back of 410 Main St. He painted the back cinder block wall of a building in bright colors. The mural sends a message of the importance of self-confidence in relation to the pursuit of one’s dreams.

MEDINA – The Medina Village Board has approved the new ordinance for murals in the Downtown Historic District.

The new local law was passed on Feb. 22. It was amended last week because to include a $100 application fee for the efforts required from the village in reviewing the proposals. The law approved on Feb. 22 didn’t include an application fee.

The board discussed whether the fee should be $25 or $100, and decided on the higher amount.

“A lot of people will be putting a lot of time into approving these murals,” said Trustee Marguerite Sherman.

The village’s new local law was pushed for after three new murals went up last year in the historic district. Those projects received approval from the Village Planning Board.

That board worked on updating the regulations for the exterior murals in the historic district. The purpose of the law is to permit the murals “in a way that promotes original works of art while preserving the natural historic architectural features of buildings in the Downtown Historic District, fostering a positive community identity and appearance and attracting tourism to the village of Medina,” the local law states.

Some highlights of the law:

• Definition of a mural – A mural is a visual depiction and/or works of art including mosaic, painting, fresco, or graphic art technique applied, painted or placed directly onto the exterior of any wall of a building or structure. Such depictions shall not contain words, logos, emblems, trademarks or other similar devices which identify or advertise any product, service or business.

• Design standards – The murals shall be an original work of art. They need to be designed and constructed under the supervision of a qualified artist/muralist or other qualified professional who has sufficient knowledge in the design and execution of such projects. The murals need to be securely attached to the building or structure to which it is applied.

The murals shall not be on any sandstone or any other type of natural stone, and they shall not obscure or detract from the significant architectural features or have an adverse effect on adjacent properties or facing properties.

Other design prohibitions include no logos, emblems or trademarked symbols. The murals shall not incorporate recognized signs of hatred or discrimination against any race, color, sex, age, national origin, disability, religion, ancestry, marital status, familial status, gender identity or expression, or sexual orientation. The projects also can’t have electrical or mechanical components, or changing images.

• Schedule – the murals should be completed within six months of the final design application approval. In the event that a mural is not completed within the six month time frame, it is at the discretion of the code enforcement officer to either grant an extension or cancel the existing permit.

• Maintenance – Routine Maintenance of an artwork becomes the responsibility of the building owner where the artwork is located. As part of the contractual requirements, the artist shall develop a maintenance program in cooperation with the building owner or manager for the proper long term care of the artwork. If the mural falls into disrepair, the building owner will be notified in writing and required to make necessary repairs within 30 days.

• Application process – A signed permission form is required from the building owner, and color pictures or renderings of the proposed mural must be submitted in the application.

• Decommissioning – When a mural is at the end of its life span, or if mural is to be removed without a replacement mural, the surface of the building or structure must be restored and repainted with appropriate colors to the Historic Preservation District, which must be approved in advance by the Village of Medina Planning Board upon such approval  a Certificate of Appropriateness will be issued after which time work may begin.

Chris Piontkowski of Cheektowaga works on this mural of flowers in November on a cinder block building on Proctor Place, a one-lane road that starts near Rudy’s Diner.