Façade and Signage Improvement Grant Program
Approved August 11, 2009
TABLE OF CONTENTS
I. INTRODUCTION TO PROGRAM 1
II. ADMINISTRATION 1
A. Summary of Responsibilities 1
III. PROGRAM TERMS 4
A. Maximum Grant Amount 4
B. Eligible Participants ` 4
C. Eligible Properties 4
D. Eligible Activities 5
E. Ineligible Items 5
F. Eligible Façade Improvement Costs 5
G. Limit to Costs of Improvements ` 6
H. Prevailing Wages 6
I. Participation Agreement 6
IV. FACADE IMPROVEMENT APPROVALS AND STANDARDS 6
V. APPLICATION PROCEDURE 7
A. Initial Screening 7
B. Application Intake 7
VI. ELIGIBILITY DETERMINATION 7
A. Project Selection 7
B. Verification Requirements 8
C. Applicant Notification of Agency Action 8
VII. NOTICE TO PROCEED AND CONTRACTOR SELECTION 8
A. Agreement Execution 8
B. Notice to Proceed 8
C. Contractor Selection 9
VIII. PROJECT MANAGEMENT 9
A. Inspection Procedures 9
B. Payments ` 9
C. Change Orders 9
D. Monitoring Requirements 9
E. Closeout 10
IX. APPEALS PROCEDURE 10
X. PROGRAM EVALUATION AND AUDIT PROCEDURES 11
A. Evaluation by Program Participants 11
B. Annual Audit 11
INTRODUCTION TO PROGRAM
The purpose of this manual is to provide a reference guide for the Oakley Redevelopment
Agency staff and others interested in the standard procedures for processing, supervising
and monitoring grants under the Agency’s Façade and Signage Improvement Grant
Program. Program allocations shall be determined pursuant to the Agency’s budget
process, available funds, and in conformance with the Agency’s Five Year Implementation
The Program is designed to eliminate blight and stimulate private investment in high-quality
building improvements that contribute to the overall strength of Project Area redevelopment.
Through this program, the Agency will share the costs of improving building exteriors,
thereby promoting joint public/private action and investment, which will complement and
enhance revitalization efforts. All façade improvements must be consistent with the City’s
ordinances, approved building codes and applicable design guidelines. If in the downtown
area, the improvements must conform to the Downtown Specific Plan (the Draft Plan, until
Grants are available for building owners and tenants in the Project Area whose buildings
are in need of façade and/or signage improvements and that are visible from a major
arterial within the Redevelopment Project Area (for example: Main Street).
After determining eligibility for the Program and submittal by the applicant of a planning
application, a Project Planner will be assigned. They will review the planning application for
completeness and schedule the proposed improvements for approval (including Planning
Commission approval if necessary). Work must be authorized by Agency staff after
execution of the Program agreement and before the start of work in order to qualify for
The Agency may choose to outsource any and all functions of the program.
Scope of Guidelines
The scope of these guidelines is limited to Façade and Signage Improvement projects paid
for under the Program.
The Agency staff administers the Program, and the determination of the Agency’s Executive
Director is final on all matters related to the functions of the Program and the decisions by
A. SUMMARY OF RESPONSIBILITIES
The following is a brief synopsis of the administrative functions for the Program. Listed
under each activity is a general description of what the activity entails and who is
responsible for the completion of the activity.
1. Outreach development, implementation and Program Staff
2. Initial contact with applicant. Program Staff
3. Add applicants to waiting list, if any. Program Staff
QUALIFICATION OF APPLICANT(S)
1. Completed application package submitted. Applicant
2. Determination of applicant and property Program Staff
qualifications according to Program’s eligibility
criteria and guidelines.
3. Advise applicant of applicant approval or disapproval. Program Staff
DETERMINATION OF PROJECT VIABILITY
1. Review of proposed improvements for City Planning and
compliance with City’s ordinances, adopted building codes, Building Divisions
applicable design guidelines and standards, and if
applicable, the Downtown Specific Plan (the Draft Plan
until approved). This step may also include a property
walkthrough to assist the applicant in identifying
in advance any building code related upgrades
that may be required as a result of the project,
as that information could be material to the
Applicant’s decision to proceed with the project. .
2. Approve design review application by the Planning City Planning Division
Commission or staff, whichever is appropriate.
3. Execute Agreement. Applicant and Agency
1. Notice to proceed. Program Staff
2. Contractor(s) to perform work selected. Applicant
3. Contractor obtains necessary permits, as required. Contractor
4. Contractor begins and completes work. Contractor
5. Site inspection to determine acceptability and City Planning and
completion of work. Building Divisions
1. Participant(s) submit invoices and proof of payment. Applicant
2. Planning and Building Inspection are contacted Program Staff
to confirm work completion and satisfaction.
3. Grant payment authorization approval. Program Staff
4. Grant payment remitted to participant. City Finance Department
and Program Staff
1. Evaluation form provided to applicant. Program Staff
2. Evaluation form received and results tabulated. Program Staff
A. MAXIMUM GRANT AMOUNT
Funds are provided on a first-come, first-serve basis following receipt of a completed
application and Agency staff determination of eligibility. Eligible property owners and/or
tenants who propose façade and/or signage improvements can apply for a grant of up to
67% of the improvement costs. The maximum grant amount is based upon the linear
footage as shown below:
Linear Feet of Maximum Agency Owner/Tenant
Façade or Grant for 67% of Portion of 33% of
Signage Costs Costs Project Cost
25’ or less $10,000 $5,000 $15,000
26’ to 50’ $15,000 $7,500 $22,500
51’ or more $20,000 $10,000 $30,000
Any expenditure which exceeds the grant amount shall be the sole responsibility of the
applicant(s). Reimbursements up to the approved grant amount shall be paid to Applicant
upon verification that approved improvements are complete and paid in full.
B. ELIGIBLE PARTICIPANTS
Applicants must own the commercial property to be improved, be tenants (see below) of a
commercial property or hold a master lease for commercial property within the Project area.
All business(es) within the building must have a current City business license.
If a tenant applies, s/he must include a copy of the lease agreement and a letter from the
property owner allowing the tenant to make the proposed building and site modifications.
Tenants will be required to verify that they have at least three years remaining on the
property lease. If tenant is accepted to the Program, the property owner will be required to
co-sign a Grant Agreement and the design review application.
C. ELIGIBLE PROPERTIES
Properties must be visible from a major arterial in the Project Area (for example: Main
Street). Storefronts must be on the ground floor and be located within the Project Area.
Corner lot buildings and buildings with frontage on both a qualifying and non-qualifying
street are eligible for grants for improvements along both streets; however, total grant
amounts for any property shall be limited the maximum grant amount for 51 linear feet or
more, as reflected in the table above.
Legal, conforming (permitted) businesses must be located in at least 75% of the ground
floor of an eligible building to be eligible for a grant. In cases where an applicant’s property
does not meet this criteria, at the discretion of the Program Staff, a grant application may be
considered for approval in cases where the proposed improvements further the purpose
and intent of the Agency’s redevelopment efforts and the proposed improvements are
consistent with allowable exterior improvements and renovations as provided in the City’s
ordinances, applicable design guidelines and the Specific Downtown Plan (the Draft Plan,
The Applicant must verify that there are no code enforcement actions currently active
against the building or the business or that work undertaken in conjunction with the
improvement project will incorporate mitigation of code violations but not part of any grant
Vacant buildings are eligible only with proof of a contracted, incoming tenant with a
No tenant or building will qualify for a grant more than once in five years.
D. ELIGIBLE ACTIVITIES
The following improvements are eligible for reimbursement through the Program for an
eligible participant and building:
1. Exterior painting
2. Decorative or architectural treatments
3. New, repaired or refinished stucco, wood, stone, brick, metal, tile or other
exterior building materials
5. Awnings, canopies or other sun control devices
6. Exterior lighting
7. Cleaning of masonry
9. Landscaping directly related to the exterior of the building
10. Repair/replacement of doors or windows visible from public view
11. Other related improvements as deemed appropriate by the Executive
E. INELIGIBLE ITEMS
These items are not eligible for grant funds but may be undertaken as part of the applicant’s
total improvement project at the applicant’s expense.
1. Removal of illegal improvements.
2. Routine maintenance, cleaning or repair costs
3. Security systems
4. Structural repairs
5. Other items as deemed inappropriate by the Agency under the criteria set forth
F. ELIGIBLE IMPROVEMENT COSTS
Hard Costs: Actual improvement costs (labor and materials) associated with Eligible
Activities described in Section III. D.
Soft Costs: Architectural design costs, design review fees, building permits, plans and
drawings in an amount not to exceed $2,500. All applicable city fees must be paid by
applicant prior to reimbursement.
F. LIMIT TO REIMBURSEMENTS
The amount of grants awarded by the Agency is dependent on both the general availability
of Program funds and the established grant limits (see section A above). Should the cost of
completing the approved grant related improvements exceed the Total Project Cost
specified in the Façade and Signage Improvement Grant Agreement entered into between
the Applicant and the Agency, all costs in excess of the “Agency Grant Amount” specified in
the Agreement are the sole responsibility of the participant(s).
G. PREVAILING WAGES
The Program requires contractors to comply with all applicable local, state and federal laws
and regulations in performance of work paid from this Program including labor standards
and prevailing wages.
H. GRANT AGREEMENT
Applicants for assistance shall be required to execute a Façade and Signage Improvement
Grant Agreement (Grant Agreement) after approval of the design review application by the
City Planning Division or Planning Commission and prior to the start of work. The purpose
of the Agreement is to state the terms and conditions of the matching grant, and to release
the Agency from all responsibilities arising from or in consequence to the grant and
FAÇADE AND SIGNAGE IMPROVEMENT APPROVALS AND STANDARDS
All applicants are must take their projects through the design review process as prescribed
by the City Planning Division.
The property façade and signage improvement standards to be used as guidelines for this
program shall consist of:
• The Oakley Downtown Specific Plan (the Draft Plan, until approved), which has its
own Design Guidelines.
• The City’s Commercial and Industrial Design Guidelines
• The City’s approved Building, Electrical, Mechanical, Plumbing, Fire and Housing
• The City’s Zoning Ordinance (which includes the City’s Sign Ordinance).
A. INITIAL SCREENING PROCEDURE
Upon contact by a potential applicant, Program staff will conduct an applicant screening
process by telephone, electronically or in person. The applicant screening process will
enable an initial determination to be made regarding eligibility of the business, the property,
and the desired façade and/or signage improvements.
During the initial screening, Program Staff shall:
1. Determine if an interpreter is needed;
2. Request cursory information from the potential applicant to determine
preliminary eligibility of the business, the property, and the desired
3. Explain to the potential client what the successive steps of the application and
façade and/or signage improvement processes, how long they take, and what
the owner's role is in each;
4. Inform the applicant that there is no guarantee of approval for their grant
5. Inform the owner that construction cannot begin until a Notice to Proceed is
6. Ask the potential client to meet with City Planning Staff to start the design
review process, including the client’s submittal of a design review application.
B. APPLICATION INTAKE
Agency staff will assist applicants with completing and submitting their grant application to
1. The application is logged in, date stamped, assigned a client number.
2. The application will be reviewed for completeness and any deficiencies will be
noted. Based on the application, Program, Planning Division and Building
Division staff will review the application and determine the business, property
and improvement project’s eligibility and viability under the Program.
3. A phone call or email will be made to the applicant with the results of Staff’s
review; that the project meets all qualifications or requesting additional
necessary information or eligibility verifications; if denied, the denial shall be
provided in writing or notifying them of denial (See Section VI - Eligibility
Determination and Section IX – Appeals Procedure).
A. PROJECT SELECTION
In general, persons seeking Program grants will be processed on a first-come, first-served
Upon initial review by Program staff of the owner/tenant(s) and project qualifications
(including conformity with City codes and design guidelines), and a preliminary feasibility
determination, the project will be processed by Program staff in order of date of completed
application. When approved Program funds are exhausted for the year, applications will be
put on a waiting list for subsequent Program allocations.
Allocations are generally expected to be considered as part of the Agency’s annual budget
process. Only the Agency Board of Directors may make or amend Program allocations.
B. VERIFICATION REQUIREMENTS
The Program staff will review applications for the following basic information:
1. Property Ownership
2. Lease Agreement (Tenants Only)
3. Proposed Façade and/or Signage Improvement
4. Project Cost Estimate
5. Other Relevant Project Information; such as photos, building size, maps, etc.
These documents shall be obtained to verify eligibility and adherence to the grant approval
process and committed to each grant file:
C. APPLICANT NOTIFICATION OF AGENCY ACTION
1. A phone call or email shall be made or email sent to the applicant advising of
eligibility approval and next steps, or requests for additional information.
2. Applicants that do not receive approval shall receive a written notification of
the decision regarding the application and a statement of the appeals
Decisions to deny funding to projects may be appealed (see Section IX - Appeals
NOTICE TO PROCEED AND CONTRACTOR SELECTION
A. AGREEMENT EXECUTION
Following the approval of the design review application for the proposed improvements, the
Applicant shall execute a Façade and Signage Improvement Grant Agreement prior to
proceeding with any improvements. The Agreement shall state applicable terms and
conditions as required by California Redevelopment Law, such as nondiscrimination. The
Agreement shall also indemnify the Agency from all responsibilities arising from or in
consequence to Agency’s participation in the Program.
B. NOTICE TO PROCEED
Upon the execution of the Agreement, a Notice to Proceed shall be issued by Program staff
to the Applicant. The Notice to Proceed shall include the following:
1. A description of project’s eligible improvements covered under the Program
2. A statement and reminder that costs related to any additional work other than the
project’s eligible improvements shall not be considered for reimbursement.
3. An explanation that no additional work is to be performed.
4. A statement and reminder that emphasizes the Contractor’s responsibility for
obtaining necessary permits and calling for inspections.
5. A reminder that all work on the project is subject to prevailing wage.
C. CONTRACTOR SELECTION
Participant(s) are responsible for the selection of a licensed contactor(s) to complete the
The contractor should provide a warranty for their work and all manufacturers’ warranties.
All Program projects are required to pay prevailing wage.
A. INSPECTION PROCEDURES
1. Upon completion of work, contractor and/or owner/tenant shall make
arrangements for the improvements to be inspected by the City’s Building
Division for compliance with applicable building codes.
2. When complete, the Inspector shall verify with Program staff that the Building
Division has completed its final inspections and approves the work.
3. The City Planning Division shall verify the completed improvements adhere to the
approved design and shall notify Program staff of their approval when approved.
4. The project file will include a record of all inspections and any findings.
1. After project completion and approval of all inspections, the Owner/Tenant
submits a request for grant funds to Program staff attaching itemized bills &
invoices, and proof of payment of all work performed.
2. After review of the grant funds request and verification of expenses, a
disbursement request is prepared by Program staff for approved
3. Once approved, the Finance Department disburses the approved reimbursement
amount to the Owner/Tenant.
C. CHANGE ORDERS
No changes may be made in the Work Scope after approval without written approved by the
Planning and Building Divisions. Change orders will not increase the approved “Agency
Grant Amount” specified in the Agreement, nor increase the Maximum Grant amount to
more than 67% of the Project’s costs.
D. MONITORING REQUIREMENTS
Program staff shall monitor compliance with the terms of the Grant Program requirements
through out the project period.
After the final reimbursement has been issued and prior to closing out the file for the
project and grant, Program staff shall review the file and ensure it contains the
documentation demonstrating the Project’s conformance to standards required by the
Objections by the applicant to policy, procedure or method of operation will be handled in
the following manner:
Disputes on matters related to aspects of eligibility between the applicant and Program staff
will be administered by the following procedure:
a. Applicant submits written appeal within fifteen calendar days following
notification of the Program staff’s decision regarding their application.
Request of appeal should state over-riding reasons to amend the earlier
b. Applicant will be notified in writing within seven calendar days of the
Program staff’s decision on the appeal;
c. If applicant contests the decision on appeal, the matter will be reviewed
by the Agency’s Executive Director. For the purposes of administrative
remedies, the Executive Director will render a final decision on the
issues of eligibility under appeal.
The Agency shall not be involved in general disputes on matters related to aspects of
construction between the owner and the contractor.
General disputes involving applicants and the Program staff after acceptance into the
Program shall be handled as follows:
a. Applicant shall make all reasonable effort to work with Program staff to
resolve any dispute or difficulty.
b. If the matter cannot be resolved between Applicant and Program staff, a
meeting will be held at the Redevelopment Agency offices between the
Executive Director or his designee to facilitate a final resolution to the
Failure to properly file a written appeal within time frame allowed for eligibility and
construction matters shall constitute a waiver of owner’s right to the appeals process.
PROGRAM EVALUATION AND AUDIT PROCEDURES
A. EVALUATION BY PROGRAM PARTICIPANTS
Program performance will be monitored and evaluated. Project participants will be given an
evaluation form for rating services provided under the Program. Overall Program
performance will be evaluated based on timely implementation of the Program and progress
towards any established milestones. Program evaluation forms shall be included with each
project file. Results of the project evaluations will be reported to the Agency Board of
Directors on an annual basis.
B. ANNUAL AUDIT
The Oakley Redevelopment Agency adheres to State approved standard audit procedures
on an annual basis. Audit reports, prepared by certified public accountants, provide a public
record of expenditures and summary of findings and recommendations.