17.06.050 – Standards and Guidelines – RM1, RM2, and RM3 districts

  1. Building Location and Design

Intent: Provide a healthy safe environment in attached single family and multiple family developments where residents can have privacy while having opportunities to relate to their neighbors and the community.


  1. Where a front or rear wall of a row of townhouses or multiple-family buildings faces the front or rear wall of another row of another townhouse or multiple-family building, the minimum separation shall be thirty (30) feet. Driveways and parking areas may be located within this minimum separation area. For townhouse developments with garage doors facing garage doors along an interior drive, the minimum separation at the ground-floor may be reduced to twenty (24) feet, provided that the upper-story living spaces comply with the separation requirement of thirty (30) feet.
  2. There shall be a minimum separation of ten (10) feet between side walls among rows of townhouses or multiple-family residential buildings.
  3. A private yard a minimum of two hundred (200) square feet in area shall be required for each townhouse dwelling unit. This private yard may be located adjacent to a front, rear or side wall, provided that it is immediately adjacent to the townhouse unit it serves and directly accessible by way of a door or stair. All private yards shall be landscaped with turf, groundcover, shrubs, trees or other landscape improvements, such as walkways and patios.
  4. No more than five (5) townhouse dwelling units shall be attached to one another in a row.
  1. Façade Articulation and Reduction of Mass and Scale

Intent: To reduce the apparent bulk of buildings and relate them to a human scale


  1. To avoid the appearance of blank walls facing the street, when the side walls of a townhouse or multiple-family development face a street, the walls facing the street should be designed with elements typical of a front façade, including doors and/or windows.
  2. Large, flat facades should be avoided by articulating the building mass to create substantial shadows and visual interest. Windows, dormers, projected entrances and overhangs are encouraged on the street facing façade to add variety and maintain a pedestrian-scale.
  3. Buildings should be designed to be viewed from multiple directions and, therefore, should be designed with consistent materials and treatment that wraps around all sides. There should be a unifying architectural design for multiple-family and townhouse developments with more than one building, utilizing a common vocabulary of architectural forms, elements, materials and colors. Variety between buildings within this unifying design is encouraged.
  4. Windows and doors should have raised elements to create shadows and articulation. In addition, three-dimensional elements such as balconies and bay windows should be incorporated to provide dimensional elements on a façade. Windows should be set back (“punched”) into the façade to provide façade depth and shadow, in a vertical orientation and a consistent style. Windows, doors, and building edges should be trimmed out with appropriate materials in a width corresponding to the scale and style of the building.

    Facades should be designed with consistent materials and treatment that wraps around all sides of the building. Street facades should create substantial shadows and visual interest. Balconies, “punched in” windows with detailed trim, projected entrances and overhangs are encouraged on the front façade.

    Side walls of townhouses or multi-family buildings should be designed with front façade elements, such as windows and doors, to avoid blank walls facing the street.

  1. Roof Forms


  1. HVAC equipment and similar appurtenances shall be located and/or screened so as not to be visible from public streets or adjoining property.


  1. To ensure that new developments are consistent and compatible with the surrounding neighborhood character, consistency in the roofline should be achieved by using similar roof forms with varying height and proportion.
  2. For larger buildings, roof forms should be articulated so that varied planes and massing within the overall roof form are provided.
  3. Large, monotonous, simple pitched roofs, without breaks in the expanse of the roof, should be avoided. Dormers and gables can be used to break up large expanses of roof area. For flat roofs, cornices and parapets should be used to add variety and break up the roofline. Rooflines should be modulated every seventy-five (75) feet through the use of varied roof heights.
  4. Pipe stacks and similar appurtenances that are required by code and cannot reasonably be hidden should be concealed as much as possible by location and coloring.

    For townhouse and multi-family developments, monotonous roofs should be avoided. Dormers and gables can create breaks in the roof expanse.

  1. Parking Areas and Pedestrian Walkways

Intent: Provide safe access and adequate parking for residents and guests, while avoiding large expanses of paved areas and minimizing the visibility or parking facilities.


  1. Parking lots and garages for multi family developments should be located to the rear or side of the lot, in areas that are less visible from the street. Large parking areas should be broken into smaller segments.
  2. Curb cuts should be minimized on arterial and collector streets through shared access, rather than individual driveways for each unit.
  3. A clearly identified network of pedestrian connections should be provided in and between parking lots, street sidewalks, open spaces and buildings.
  4. Townhouses should be designed with garages to the rear of the units or, if located at the front of the units, designed so that garages do not form the most prominent visual element of the façade.

    Parking areas should be located to the rear of buildings to minimize their visibility from the street.

  1. Building Materials

Intent: Buildings should be constructed of quality materials that reduce maintenance costs over the life of the building, relate to traditional building materials used historically in Kane County, and reinforce the character of the community.

​Standards: Permitted and prohibited building materials in the RM-1, RM-2 and RM-3 Districts are:

  1. Approved Materials
    Approved materials for exterior use in the construction of new multiple-family and townhouse developments in St. Charles are as follows:
    1. Modular-sized clay brick
    2. Cedar or equivalent wood, or fiber-cement, horizontal siding
    3. Stucco, installed without the use of Exterior Insulated Finishing Systems (EIFS)
    4. Terra cotta or similar glazed masonry units
    5. Architectural metal (such as for window and door framing)
    6. Natural or architectural cast stone
    7. Trim, frieze boards, soffit and fascia boards may be of wood, molded polymer, copper, or fiber cement material; aluminum or vinyl material may be used for soffit and fascia boards only
    8. Architectural concrete masonry units for a foundation course only
    9. Standing seam metal roofing
    10. Slate or tile roofing
    11. Wood shake shingles
    12. Architectural grade asphalt and fiberglass shingles for roofs
    13. Individual glass windows in wood, aluminum or vinyl covered wood frames with true divided lights (i.e. no false appliqué mullions)
    14. Glass block for accenting purposes (glass block walls are not included in this category)
    15. Other materials as approved by the City Council or Historic Preservation Commission
  2. Prohibited Materials Prohibited materials for exterior use in the construction of new multiple-family and townhouse developments in St. Charles are as follows:
    1. Smooth-faced or textured concrete masonry units (CMU)
    2. King-size or jumbo brick
    3. Exposed aggregate (rough finish) concrete wall panels
    4. Tilt-up concrete panels
    5. Exterior Insulated Finishing Systems (EIFS) comprised of polystyrene foam panels, regardless of base or finish coat or treatment, located less than ten feet (10’) above grade, or over more than ten percent (10%) of any building wall
    6. Plywood, composite plywood or masonite sidings (T-111)
    7. Panel brick or thinset stone veneers
    8. Plastic
    9. Reflective glass
    10. Pre-fabricated steel panels of the type used in farm, storage and industrial buildings
    11. Vinyl or aluminum horizontal siding 
  3. Uniform Materials
    Use of uniform exterior building materials shall be required on all facades. For example, if the front wall contains a mixture of brick and wood, the side and rear walls shall contain the same materials in approximately the same proportions.
(2011-Z-1: § 9)