In anticipation of pending legislation proposing an eighth Design Review Board for the Central Area, we are now accepting applications for board members. Applications are due by April 25 for terms that begin July 1. In the event that legislation is changed or delayed, we will contact applicants regarding their application status or next steps. To be considered for appointment, please send an application, cover letter, and resume to Lisa Rutzick at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Applicants should have knowledge of, or interest in, architecture, urban design and the development process. They should also have the ability to evaluate projects based on the city’s design guidelines; the ability to listen and communicate effectively; a passion for design and community development; and the ability to work well with others under pressure. Prior experience with community or neighborhood groups is a plus. Board members must live in Seattle. They should expect to work 15 hours a month attending and preparing for board meetings, which are held twice a month in the evenings. Board members are expected to attend at least 90 percent of the meetings.
Design Review is one of the tools we use to create a better city. It gives our planners, residents, and the professional volunteers serving on the Design Review Boards a voice in the design of most new multifamily and commercial buildings. These participants in the design review process consider a broad set of design considerations and apply design guidelines that the architect must use to design the exterior of the building. Their guidance and recommendations help us promote designs that fit into and relate to the surrounding neighborhoods. They also offer flexibility with the code standards to achieve better designs.
Our Design Review Program and its boards review most private development projects in Seattle. We review multiple aspects of a building and its site, including some of the following:
We hold public meetings for full Design Review that includes review by City staff and the Design Review Boards. Our review process includes an opportunity for public comment and involvement. You may request a "departure" from the Land Use Code as part of your proposal. Be sure to consult the design guidelines that apply specifically to your project.
The Design Review Board welcomes public comment on project design. Public comment helps the board and City form its recommendations. For projects reviewed by a board, the public may comment at the board meeting or by writing to the design review planner directly.
Get Involved With a Neighborhood Group
Learn About Upcoming Reviews
Know and Use the Design Guidelines
Use the city-adopted design guidelines to craft your comments before you submit them to us.
Focus on Design
Design review focuses on design: the building’s size and shape, materials, and other elements within the guidelines. Environmental issues, such as traffic and parking, are not addressed by the design review process. Write and submit environmental concerns to the design review planner and ask that they be considered for the Master Use Permit review.
The City Council adopted updates to revamp and refresh our Design Review Program on October 2, 2017 (Council Bill 119057). Most of the changes will go into effect on July 1, 2018. Visit our Design Review Program Improvements page for additional information. We've posted a summary of the changes online.
Submit Your Packet