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Design Review Program Improvements

An example of a building design that considered the site characteristics.
Partnering with the community to improve the design review program.

What’s Happening Now? 

On August 1, 2017, the Mayor submitted recommendations to the City Council to update our Design Review Program. Read the Mayor’s recommendations on our Project Documents webpage.

The proposed amendments to the Land Use Code (Title 23) are intended to improve the overall function of the program by enhancing the efficiency and predictability of project reviews, improving dialogue among project stakeholders, and making the program more transparent and accessible to the public and project applicants. In addition, the changes would focus Design Review on the development projects most likely to influence the character of a neighborhood, and reduce the costs of building housing. They build upon the recommendations we released in March 2016 and June 2017. 

Project Goals

Develop recommendations that:

  • Cultivate the program’s purpose of encouraging better design
  • Improve the level of consistency, efficiency, and predictability in how the City administers the program
  • Increase accessibility to encourage better dialogue between the boards, applicants, and community
  • Use communication strategies and tools (both traditional and emerging technologies) to improve how information is presented, shared, and reviewed throughout the entire design review process
  • Carry out a key recommendation to update the Design Review program from the Mayor’s Housing Affordability and Livability Agenda.

The End Result

The City Council's Planning, Land Use, and Zoning (PLUZ) Committee is scheduled to hold deliberations on the proposal in the summer of 2017. See the PLUZ Committee webpage for upcoming meetings related to this proposal.

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