WHAT IS DESIGN REVIEW?
The design review process makes sure that new or remodeled developments in the City will enhance the City's environment. It also makes sure that a development will blend in to the style of the area around it. All professional offices, commercial buildings, multi-family housing units, Planned Unit Developments and Planned Residential Zones are subject to design review. Single Family Dwellings (SFDs) built in Residential Hillside zones require site design review. During the design review process, your project will be reviewed for site planning, circulation, architectural design, quality and type of materials, colors and landscaping. The insides of buildings are not subject to design review.
WHO REVIEWS DEVELOPMENTS FOR DESIGN REVIEW?
The Design Review staff of the Department of Community Development will review minor projects that are straightforward in nature. The Design Review Board reviews all other projects and all sign programs. Projects reviewed by the staff may be referred to the Design Review Board for policy decisions or appeals of staff decisions.
WHAT IS CONCEPT REVIEW?
If you want advice from the Design Review Board at an early stage, you may request concept review. To do this, submit a completed application form with applicable fees along with the name and location of your project and ten copies of preliminary plans to the Department of Community Development.
Your item will be placed on the next available agenda of the Design Review Board. The Board meets on the first and third Thursdays of each month. You will be told the meeting date. You or your architect should attend the meeting to present your plans. The Design Review Board's policy is to allow a maximum of fifteen minutes of total discussion for each concept item. The Design Review Board will let you know their informal recommendations.
WHAT STEPS ARE NECESSARY TO OBTAIN FORMAL DESIGN REVIEW APPROVAL?
It is your decision whether you want to receive preliminary and/or final review. The difference between the two is the amount of information required for each application.
Step 1 - Filing an Application
The first step is to submit an application for either preliminary or final design review to the Department of Community Development. You also will need to pay the required fees then.
As part of the Design Review application process for projects, applicants are also to prepare a Design Concept Narrative.
Please see the Design Review application guide for details on what your application needs to contain.
The application will be reviewed for completeness within thirty days. You will be notified if the application is found to be incomplete. Incomplete means that either all information required was not submitted or, some of that information was found inadequate. You will be told what information we need to make your application complete.
Step 2 - Environmental Review
Some Design Review applications need a preliminary environmental review by the case planner. The purpose of this review is to find out if the project will cause any adverse environmental impacts. You may be required to give us more information about traffic, noise, etc. After reviewing all the information, the case planner will make an environmental determination. (Please see the Environmental Review for details about the environmental process.)
Staff Approval or Denial
For projects that staff can review and approve, the case planner will send your application to other departments and public agencies for their review. The case planner will decide whether to approve your project, approve it with conditions or deny your project. The case planner will notify you by letter of his/her action. You or any member of the public may appeal the case planner's decision to the Design Review Board. This appeal must be filed in writing with the Department of Community Development within ten calendar days from the date of the letter notifying you of staff's action.
DESIGN REVIEW BOARD APPROVAL OR DENIAL
Applications that require Design Review Board action must take the following steps.
Step 3 - Preliminary Design Review
The case planner will refer your preliminary plans to other City departments for review. S/he also schedules your project for the next available Design Review Board. You will be notified of the date and time your item is scheduled. You or your architect should attend the meeting to present your project. At the meeting the Design Review Board may make suggested changes to your project. Those changes must be added to your plans before you go back to the Board for final design review.
Step 4 - Final Design Review
After preliminary design review you can go back to the Design Review Board at the next available meeting for final approval. To do that you must have met the Board's requests for more information and plan changes. Before the meeting, a staff report will be prepared for the Board. At the final design review, the Board will either approve your project, deny it and send it back for redesign or approve your project with conditions. The board's decision is final unless appealed.
WHAT IS THE APPEAL PROCESS?
You or any member of the public may appeal the Design Review Board's decision to the City Council. This appeal must be filed in writing with the City Clerk within ten calendar days from the date of the Design Review Board's action. The case planner will forward a written report and recommendation to the City Council. This will include the Design Review Board's comments and action. The City Council meets each Tuesday unless there is a fifth Tuesday. The case planner will present the Design Review Board's action to the City Council. The person appealing the decision will be given a chance to speak as well. The City Council may refer the matter back to the Design Review Board for further consideration, may reverse, uphold, or modify the decision of the Design Review Board. The City Council's decision is final.
WHAT OTHER ACTIONS ARE REQUIRED?
OTHER RELATED INFORMATION
For further information please call the Department of Community Development at 707-543-3223
TDD # 707-543-3031