Program Guidelines

LAKE COUNTY REDEVELOPMENT AGENCY
FACADE IMPROVEMENT PROGRAM GUIDELINES


I. Purpose

The Lake County Redevelopment Agency Business Facade Improvement Program is designed to assist in the elimination of blight. It is a partnership between business property owners within the Northshore Redevelopment Project Area, the Lake County Redevelopment Agency, and the Lake County Economic Development Program. The program uses Redevelopment Agency funds as its funding source. The purpose of the program is to provide grant funds to businesses within the Northshore Redevelopment Project Area for the purpose of financing business building improvements in conformance with Community Design Guidelines, thus assisting in the elimination of blight. The cumulative impacts of each business improvement project shall be to enhance the overall appearance of the community and create a clean, safe, and attractive image conducive to commerce.

II. Program Objectives

The Lake County Facade Improvement Program provides assistance to business property owners to enable them to improve the appearance of their properties and thereby reduce blight within the Redevelopment Project Areas. The Program objectives are:

A. To improve the overall appearance of the businesses of the area.

B. To improve the business climate of the project area thereby increasing sales and sales tax & TOT revenues.

C. To assist in the elimination of blight thereby improving property values and tax revenues.

III. Eligibility

A. Conflict of Interest

No member of the governing body of the Agency and no other official, employee, or agent of the Agency (or County) who exercises policy, decision-making functions, or responsibilities in connection with the planning and implementation of the program shall directly or indirectly be eligible for this program. This ineligibility shall continue for one year after an individual's relationship with the Agency ends.

B. Anti-Discrimination

No person or persons shall be excluded from participation in, denied the benefit of, or be subjected to, discrimination under any portion of this Program or activity on the basis of his or her religion or religious affiliation, age, race, color, ancestry, national origin, sex, marital status, familial status, physical or mental disability, sexual orientation, or other arbitrary cause.

C. Property

The applicant must be the owner of a commercial property within an adopted Redevelopment Project Area of the Lake County Redevelopment Agency or if not the owner have written permission by the owner to carry out the improvements. The property can include a residential element such as the case of a residence over a retail business. In such a case it would not make sense to restrict new paint or other facade treatment to only the commercial portion of the building since that would not provide a comprehensive facade improvement. Several properties of this nature exist in the Northshore Project Area.

D. Occupancy

No portions of these funds may be used for the purposes of relocation of businesses or residents. Property owners of businesses wishing to avail themselves of this program are responsible for paying any necessary relocation cost themselves. Such relocations will be provided for as required by the provisions of California Health & Safety Code Sections 33410-33417.5 and the Lake County Redevelopment Agency Relocation Plan. As a norm it is anticipated that there will be no facade improvements in cases requiring temporary relocations of businesses or residents.

IV. Method of Assistance

A. Order

Priority will be given to those properties, which in the opinion of the Redevelopment Agency, will have the greatest impact on improving the appearance of the communities' scenic corridor and business districts. Another consideration will be the levels of increased sales activities and increases in TOT anticipated to be generated by a given facade improvement project. In those instances where there are insufficient funds available to fund approved applications, Program Staff shall have the discretion to establish and prioritize a waiting list for funding based on priorities established in these guidelines.

B. Type of Assistance

I. Architectural Design Services

The Lake County Redevelopment Agency will provide architectural design and review services to qualified grant applicants to encourage quality design improvements in conformance with Community Design Guidelines. This design and review service will include two consultations with the design artist, a draft façade depiction and a final façade depiction. If engineering designs are desired, the Agency may grant up to $1,000 on a one-to-one match basis to qualified grant applicants to pay for engineering designs.

Taking advantage of the Architectural Design Services does not require the applicant to pursue the project to completion.

II. Façade Improvement Grant

Grants will be for the costs of construction including, as appropriate, design, permits, labor and materials. The following types of improvements can be financed using program funds in conformance with Community Design Guidelines:

Facade construction

Masonry restoration

Painting

Awning replacement

Sign removal and replacement

Trim work

Storefront window

Utility piping removal

Lighting improvements

Landscaping

Other improvements considered reasonable and in conformance with the Community Design Guidelines

In addition to the above improvements, improvements such as those listed below may also be eligible as part of a comprehensive façade makeover.

Window repairs

Kick plates

Fencing

Door repairs

Trash enclosures and receptacles

Security improvements

C. Amount of Assistance

Grants are given on a one-to-one match basis up to $10,000; meaning that the Redevelopment Agency will match each dollar spent by the owner on façade improvements up to $10,000.

D. Terms of Assistance

The program will provide grants within the following guidelines:

1. Grants are given on a one-to-one match basis up to $10,000.

2. Grant funds must be used for improvements which substantially meet the criteria of the Community Design Guidelines.

3. The prospective property must be located in the Northshore Redevelopment Area. With priority given to businesses located anywhere along Highway 20 in Clearlake Oaks, Glenhaven, Lucerne or Nice and Upper Lake’s main street.

4. The applicant must be the owner of the property, or if a tenant, then a written consent from the property owner is required.

5. Compatibility with the local development theme and all building ordinances.

6. Approval of the grant is at the discretion of the Design Review Committee.

7. All work performed must be done by a licensed contractor or qualified owner builder.

8. The general prevailing wage rate must be paid for work related to the Façade Improvement Program.

9. Only one grant will be allowed for each property within a fiscal year.

10. Applicant must maintain all improvements and keep storefronts, as well as sides and back of buildings clean, free of graffiti, and landscaped for a minimum of five (5) years at the applicant’s own cost and expense. Any damage to the façade is to be repaired immediately by the applicant so that the building remains in good condition and positively contributes to the business area. On an ongoing basis, the applicant is required to touch up painted areas and perform any other repairs needed to maintain the building appearance including the cleaning of the storefront annually.

11. This grant may be used in conjunction with other agency programs including the Resort Revitalization program.

12. The recipient must (a) apply for permits associated with the façade improvement project within two (2) weeks of the effective date of the grant agreement. (b) begin work on the project within two (2) months of the effective date of the grant agreement, and (c) have completed the project within one (1) year of the effective date of the grant agreement. Extensions for extenuating circumstances may be made at the agreement of both parties.

13. Fees.

There are no participation fees required for taking part in this program other than the normal building permits and related fees associated with a construction or remodel project. Permit fees, however, may be considered part of the applicant’s required match.

V. Application and Approval Process

A. Applications

Applications and Community Design Guidelines will be available at the County’s Visitor Center in Lucerne or at the County Courthouse Administrative Office in Lakeport. Applications can be obtained by mail by contacting Redevelopment Agency staff (263-2580).

The application must be completed by the applicant and include information on the type of business, where the business is located, the history of the business, what improvements are planned, dollar amount requested and a signed certification of understanding of program rules and guidelines. Applicants will be encouraged to talk to the program representatives throughout the process in order to clarify how the program works and how they can benefit most from participation in the Façade Improvement Program.

Completed applications will be accepted at the office of the Redevelopment Agency at the Courthouse, 255 N. Forbes, Lakeport, CA 95453.

B. Interviews

Grant program staff will review the application, assist in its completion, consult on the project, and coordinate participation and assistance with the project architect.

Grant program staff will conduct personal interviews prior to the acceptance of applications. Interviews shall be used to re-review the application, ensure that it is complete, confirm all information with the applicant, and determine if the reason for the request complies with the spirit and intent of these guidelines.

C. Application Review Process

The completed application will first be presented to the Redevelopment Agency Façade Improvement Committee. The Executive Director of the Redevelopment Agency will form this committee. The Façade Improvement Committee will review and as appropriate approve the proposed project for significant compliance with the Community Design Standards.

D. Grant Distribution

If approved by the committee, redevelopment agency staff will prepare the appropriate grant documents. Grant closing documents include the following items:

Façade Improvement Program Grant Agreement

Maintenance Agreement

Prior to disbursement, applicants will be required to sign a Grant Fund Agreement. The agreement shall include the requirement that funds shall be spent for the reason(s) requested and will be maintained in accordance with the program Maintenance Agreement

The Redevelopment Agency will reimburse the recipient directly within thirty (30) days of invoice submittal and agency staff approval of improvements for fifty percent (50%) of the cost of qualified improvements up to ten thousand dollars ($10,000). Invoices may be submitted to the Agency for the façade improvement project as a work in progress, meaning the recipient may submit invoices for work done on the project before the entire project has been completed. However, the final 10% of the Agency’s 50% reimbursement match will be retained until the completion of the project.

E. Appeals

Upon written request, applicants may appeal decisions made by the Facade Program Grant Committee to the Lake County Redevelopment Agency Board of Directors. Appeals shall only be considered where there exists a legitimate interpretation issue over the program guidelines or it is unclear whether the spirit and intent of these guidelines cover a given applicant's business circumstance.

Applicants appealing decisions to the Board of Directors should understand that if review is granted by the Board of Directors, the appeal process will likely require public disclosure of financial information included in the application. Decisions of the Lake County Redevelopme