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 Design Review Board has been working on an ongoing project to update the design standards that apply to areas of town outside the two special districts (Historic District and Pilchuck District). The standards, currently called the "Design Standards (outside the Historic District)" were adopted in 2004. The document will be renamed to "General Design Standards".
The draft document outline is below. Draft sections will become available to view as they are reviewed by the Board. When The Board is finished reviewing all the document sections, it will be forwarded to the City Council for adoption.
Send your written comments via email to Planner Brooke Eidem. The Design Review Board meets monthly on the second Wednesday of the month. Check the Agenda Center to see if this topic is on the upcoming agenda. Meetings are open to the public.