Architectural Review Residential Development


There is established an Architectural Review Board for the Village of Grafton for promoting compatible development, aesthetics, stability, or property values, and to prevent impairment or depreciation of existing developments.


No structure can be erected, moved, reconstructed, extended, enlarged, or have its exterior altered or changed without the Architectural Review Board's approval. Small accessory structures are exempt unless the Zoning Administrator requests a determination by the Architectural Review Board.


The Architectural Review Board consists of five members. Members are residents of the Village appointed by the Village President and confirmed by the Village Board. Terms are for three-year periods. The Board elects the Chairman.


The Architectural Review Board organizes and adopts rules for its own governing.
Meetings. Meetings are held by the adopted schedule and are open to the public.
Minutes. Minutes are kept indicating actions taken and are a public record.
Quorum. Quorum shall be three (3) members, and all actions require a concurring vote of at least two (2) members.


The Architectural Review Board has the following powers:
Hear and Decide Applications. Hear and decide applications to erect, move, reconstruct, extend, alter, or change the exterior of all structures that can be viewed from a public street.
Approve, Deny, or Conditionally Approve the Application. Approve, deny, or conditionally approve an application and may request modifications they deem necessary to carry out the purpose of the Ordinance.
Assistance. The Architectural Review Board may request assistance from other municipal officers, departments, boards, and commissions.
Additional Information. Request applicant to furnish additional information.


Applications for approval by the Architectural Review Board are made to the Building Inspector and require information and data as required by the Ordinance.


The Architectural Review Board shall not approve any application unless they find that the following facts and conditions exist and so indicate in the minutes of their proceedings:
Conformance with Architectural Review Principles and Standards. The exterior design proposed is in conformance with the principles and standards set forth in the Ordinance.
No Depreciation of Property Values. The exterior design is not unsightly or obnoxious and is not disharmonious or so similar to existing or proposed neighboring developments that substantial depreciation of neighboring property or development will be caused by the applicant's proposal.


The Architectural Review Board shall decide all applications within five (5) days after review and shall transmit a signed copy of their decision to the applicant and the Building Inspector.


Any person or persons aggrieved by any decision of the Architectural Review Board may appeal the decision to the Zoning Board of Appeals. Such appeal shall be filed with the Zoning Administrator within thirty (30) days after filing of the decision with the Zoning Administrator.


For promoting compatible development, stability of property values, and to prevent impairment or depreciation of property values, no person can erect any structure without obtaining the approval of the Architectural Review Board. Architectural plans are also subject to the review and approval of the Plan Commission if the proposed building(s) are also subject to Site Plan Review.

Principles and Standards Review

In their consideration of applications for architectural review, the Building Inspector, Plan Commission, and Architectural Review Board shall consider and evaluate the propriety of granting the approval in terms of the effect of the application on the general purposes for which architectural approval is required. The Building Inspector, Plan Commission, and Architectural Review Board (as applicable) in the review, approval or denial of the Architectural Review Application use the following principles and standards for architectural review. These are also intended to be a design aid for builders and owners to use in the preparation of architectural plans. A Building Permit shall not be issued for any single-family residence, two-family residential structure, multiple-family residential structure, or nonresidential building which does not meet the requirements of this Section. In addition, no building or remodeling of a building which is located in the area subject to the Grafton Downtown Master Plan as adopted by the Village of Grafton Plan Commission on February 23, 1999, shall be permitted unless said building or proposed remodeling complies with the downtown master plan design guidelines included in that master plan. To implement the Ordinance, the following architectural review principles and guidelines are established:

Important Building Plan Submittal Checklist

Does your plan have the following REQUIRED information???

Residential Development

(Single-Family Structures, Two-Family Structures, and Individual Lot Plans for Such Structures). General.
____No two (2) single-family dwellings or two-family dwellings of similar front elevation or facade shall be repeated on any abutting lots or within five (5) lots on either side of the street on which the dwellings front, including lots which are directly across the street from one another. Front elevations or facades are deemed to be similar when there is no substantial difference in roof lines; and no substantial change in windows of either size, location or type; and either no change in the color of materials used (rather than a change in shade), or no substantial change in the kind of materials except where such buildings are part of a unified development and similar building designs are approved by a unanimous vote of the Architectural Review Board.

Roof Lines

The following differences in the roof lines of single-family dwellings or two-family dwellings as seen from the front of the dwelling are deemed sufficient to render buildings containing such changes and built on adjacent lots to be dissimilar:
____Changing gable roofs to hip roofs,
____Providing an intersecting gable roof on the main gable roof, if the height of the intersecting roof is at least fifty (50) percent of the height of the main roof. Providing an intersecting hip roof on the main hip roof, if the height of the intersecting hip roof is at least fifty (50) percent of the height of the main roof,
____A shed roof when used as a front porch roof for a minimum of fifty (50) percent of the entire width of the house, excluding area of the garage,
____A substantial difference in roof line is deemed to exist if the front soffit is increased significantly and is combined with columns at least six (6) inches in width or other architectural features of a similar magnitude which reach the roof line of the highest story, or
____Rotating gable roofs ninety (90) degrees on the building.
On a tri-level residence or other building type that has three (3) independent major roof areas, the changing of two (2) out of three (3) rooflines shall be acceptable as a substantial change. Acknowledging certain design elements may prevent the changing of all three (3) rooflines; it is desired that the roofs with the greatest impact in the streetscape be changed.

The following changes are not deemed sufficient to make adjacent structures dissimilar:
-A gable roof atop a hip roof,
-A hip roof atop a gable roof,
-Small gable or hip projections above windows,
-Window dormers,
-Change in soffit overhang or minor variation in eave height, or
-Skylight and cupola.


The following differences in the size, location or type of windows are deemed sufficient to render buildings containing such changes and built on adjacent lots to be dissimilar:
____Changing from single windows to a multiple window arrangement (ganged units),
____Changing from multiple window arrangement to single windows,
____Changing the type of windows (e.g., a casement to double hung), or
____Providing a bay or bow window in the area of the predominant window,

The following change shall not be deemed sufficient to constitute a substantial change in windows:
-The addition or subtraction of muntin bars (dividing lights).
-Where, because of its size, location or design, one window is the predominant window on the front elevation or face, if the size, location or type of that window is changed to render the dwelling dissimilar, then no other window need be changed.

Construction Material or Color.
The following differences in construction material between adjacent single-family dwellings or two-family dwellings as seen from the front of the dwellings shall be deemed sufficient to render buildings containing such changes and built on adjacent lots to be dissimilar.
____Four (4) inch exposure horizontal siding,
____Eight (8) inch exposure horizontal siding,
____Brick facing,
____Stone facing, or
____Stucco/stucco to board and trim.
____When materials are changed, the change must occur throughout the front facade or elevation for a minimum of one (1) story in height.
____Color change shall be made by significant changes in adjacent colors. The change must be one of color rather than merely of the shade.

Application Requirements

Building Plans: - Seven sets of building plans and surveys are required. One survey and one of the sets shall be in an 11" x 17" format signed by the subdivision control committee, if required.

For information on review board requirements for non-residential development obtain the brochure on non-residential development.

To all applicants for new construction architectural review:
All plan elevations shall be shown and completely labeled with finished exterior wall and roof materials