On Tuesday, April 21, 2015, with one dissenting vote, St. Charles City Council
overturned longstanding legislation. In a defining decision,
codes allow merchandise to be stacked to a height of 4' on Historic District sidewalks
with a 44" path (essentially single file), merchandise may
be affixed to facades and shutters, merchandise may be spread over 50% of a yard.
Council's Bill >>

No part of the solution offered below was included.

Letters in oppostion were sent from
South Main Preservation Society >>
Old Town Neighborhood Association >>
and neighbors >>.

Sample displays offered as a way for merchants
to call attention to their shop without compromising the
standards of the district and quality of our protective ordinances.


At issue is the character and quality of the South Main Historic District as a business and residential neighborhood, and as a National Register of Historic Places district. Degradation of the standards has a direct impact on the potential envisioned by so many who have worked and volunteered for decades.

At a meeting with the Mayor, Planning Director, CVB Director and others, it was proposed that current restrictions on 'Outdoor Display' be retained, and additional language be inserted to allow for a 'Decorative Entry Presentation'.

Entry presentations, themed for the shop represented, would offer merchants a way to convey their shop's personality. Items of merchandise could be incorporated into the presentations.

Specified dimensions would make code enforcement possible. Attractive, unique pesentations could become a desirable feature of our Historic District product... magazine cover images.

Merchants win the opportunity to display a taste of their shop to entice customers to enter; the residents and property owners win when property values are protected; the Planning Department wins when they have clear stardards by which to regulate; the CVB wins when the product they promote is of high quality; the legal department wins when liability issues are considered; the City wins when assets are protected; all win when the quality of the Historic District appearance is held to a high standard as envisioned by those who invested their lives and fortunes in decades of tremendous effort toward a strong Historic District, well-preserved and well-protected.

The proposal for a 'Decorative Entry Presentation' specifies a single vertical decoration at entry doors with a footprint of 2'x2' & 6' high or less.

Conditional uses could be developed for antique cars, bicycles, plants, etc., and should contain language to maintain high standards and avoid clutter of these conditional items.

St. Charles has been the envy of many other communities who do not have our level of continuous restoration and protective ordinances... and cannot achieve them due to long-standing uses and practices. Outdoor clutter of any kind degrades a neighborhood; the Decorative Entry Presentation is a creative way to serve not only merchant concerns, but also residents with quality of life concerns, property owners with property value concerns, CVB with Historic District product concerns, Planning with regulation concerns, taxpayers with city asset concerns. And, the Decorative Entry Presentation again, puts St. Charles in an enviable position as an innovator of ways to achieve goals without compromising the quality of this most unique and valuable South Main Historic District.

Read Archie's View >>

The proposal outlined on this page was ignored in the bill drafted by the city:

See City Council's Bill >>


Average shoulder width is about 18". The 3 people in the photo are using 60+" of sidewalk... and others are coming in the opposite direction. The proposal from Development is for a 44" path through outdoor merchandise. While family members may walk shoulder to shoulder, others will not; therefore, 44" is essentially single file space.

The video was produced prior to hiring the new CVB Director in 2014.