Design Review is the process by which a development proposal is evaluated for consistency with the applicable design standards, usually related to the site layout or building design.
The City currently has two special districts with their own set of design standards, in addition to a more general design standards document that applies to the rest of the city. Those special districts are the Historic District and the Pilchuck District. A third special district, the Midtown District, is currently in the planning process and when adopted, is likely to have its own design standards as well.
All design standards documents can be accessed at the links below.
The design review process is generally in coordination with a permit for new construction or a proposal that alters a site or the exterior of a building. There is no additional cost associated with design review, but there are additional submittal materials that are necessary to make a determination. These are usually detailed elevations with materials identified. In some cases, color renderings or manufacturer's specifications are necessary.
In most areas of town, design review is conducted administratively by staff. In the Historic District and for projects that are proposed by a public agency, design review is conducted by the Design Review Board, an advisory body who makes a recommendation to the Planning Director. Minor projects are reviewed by an individual member of the Board (such as signs, fences, etc.). More significant development proposals are reviewed by the full Board at a public meeting.
Design Standards Update
The City Council passed Resolution 1420 on May 18, 2021, which adopted an updated set of standards that apply outside the Historic District and Pilchuck District. The General Design Standards will become effective on May 27, 2021.