PITTSBURG — The Pittsburg City Commission approved new downtown design standards during its regular meeting Tuesday.

The city will adopt standards for Broadway-facing buildings between 1st street and 10th street.

“This has really kind of evolved from the Downtown Advisory Board, which is a citizen board we created last year to deal with formal issues around downtown,” Deputy City Manager Jay Byers said. “One of the things they are concerned with is maintaining a certain downtown integrity with the buildings.”

Byers emphasized that these standards should not be taken as law, but rather guidelines and suggestions.

“Through the process we went through with the infrastructure committee and the advisory board itself and they hashed it out and decided that, at least at this point, they were just going to have guidelines,” he said. “This is for new construction because if you are going to do some significant rehabilitation or if you are going to build a new building downtown, these are the guidelines we are going to ask you to follow.”

The deputy city manager said interest in the downtown area has grown significantly within the past year.

“Most of these people ask for guidelines because they want to know that when they put money into downtown, they are going to invest their money, and they do not want their neighbor’s place to look bad or conflict with what they are trying to do with their own investment,” Byers said.

He said such standards help everybody in the community, given the interdependence in the downtown environment.

“The buildings are right next to each other, it creates a streetscape, and once it starts being chopped up and becoming less consistent or if there are dramatic changes from one building to the next, it really loses a lot of its character as a downtown, walkable commercial center,” Byers said. “If you do not have some sort of standards in your neighborhood, your property value typically goes down, too.”

The deputy city manager said the biggest takeaway from this approval is the fact that it went through a public process.

“The Downtown Advisory Board was kind of in control of this, we had public hearings, we went back and forth — of course, the city always creates the initial draft, but it dramatically changed over the course of the public process,” he said. “We take it to the people who are most affected, and the people in the Downtown Advisory Board own buildings downtown, so they really are affected by this.”

 — Brandon Schmitz is a staff writer for the Morning Sun. He can be reached at bschmitz@morningsun.net.