Design Review Program Improvements - What & Why

What’s Happening Now? 

The City Council passed the Design Review legislation (Council Bill 119057) on October 2, 2017. The new rules went into effect on July 1, 2018. 

The amendments to the Land Use Code (Title 23) 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 focus Design Review on the development projects most likely to influence the character of a neighborhood, and reduce the costs of building housing. Check out a summary of the changes we've made to the Design Review program. 

To help implement the new rules, we developed a Director's Rule with Department of Neighborhoods (DON). The rule expands upon the new requirements for Early Community Outreach for projects going through Design Review that were adopted as part of the recent legislation. We've also put together some sample Community Outreach Plans as a resource to help applicants understand the requirements in the proposed Rule. Find more information on DON's new website for early Community Outreach.

Project Goals

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

The End Result

The City Council passed the Design Review legislation (Council Bill 119057) on October 2, 2017. The changes went into effect on July 1, 2018.