What is a Business Revitalization District (BRD)?
A BRD is a neighborhood commercial district (or another non-residential
district) which has been designated under the Zoning Code as a district
in which all new construction and exterior property alterations are
subject to "design review" prior to issuance of a Building
What is Not Subject to Design Review in
One-family and two-family houses are exempt from design review in BRD's.
Also, normal exterior maintenance and repairs, as well as interior alterations,
are exempt from design review for all types of buildings.
What is Design Review?
"Design review" is a process in which new buildings,
building renovation, and property improvements (such as parking, fencing
and landscaping) are reviewed to ensure that their design is compatible
with the character of surrounding buildings. Design review considers
such subjects as architectural style, building placement, color, materials,
landscaping, driveway locations, etc.
Who Conducts the Design Review Process?
A local design review committee is nominated by the neighborhood's
community development corporation and approved by the City Planning
Commission. A majority of the committee's 5-7 members must be design
professionals (architects, landscape architects, graphic artists, etc.).
The local committee reviews each project and makes a recommendation
to the City Planning Commission.
Who Makes the Final Decision?
Final project approval is made by the Cleveland City Planning Commission
(or by the Commissions Director on behalf of the Commission) on
the basis of the recommendation made by the Flats Oxbow Design Review
How Much Time Will Design Review Add to a Project?
Because it is conducted concurrently with the required Building
permit review procedure coordinated by the Division of Building &
Housing, design review typically will add only about one to two weeks
to the approval process.
What Should be Included in the Submission?
The following items (many of which are required for a routine Building
Permit application) should be included in the submission for design
- A site plan indicating (existing and proposed) buildings, lot lines,
parking spaces, driveways, landscaping, lighting fences, sidewalks,
signs, etc. drawn to scale and showing all relevant dimensions
and noting such information as landscaping types, paving materials,
- Building elevation drawings (all four sides) indicating design materials,
colors, type of illumination, signs, etc.
- Color photos of the subject property in the context of adjoining
properties within approximately 250 feet. (Polaroids are acceptable;
photos will remain on file at the Flats Oxbow office).
- Samples of materials or colors if such changes are proposed.
- A brief written description of the work proposed, including a description
of materials and installation methods.
What is an Informal Review?
In order to save time and money on detailed final drawings, an applicant
may wish to present a preliminary concept plan to the Local Design Review
Advisory Committee for feedback and guidance before making a formal
Building Permit application. An informal review can be scheduled by
calling the City Planning Commission (664-2210) office at least one
week prior to the meeting.
What is the Formal Review Process?
The typical formal review process prior to issuance of a Building
Permit includes the following steps:
- Applying for a Building Permit. The applicant first
submits 4 sets of drawings to the Division of Building and Housing
(City Hall, Room 505) and fills out a Building Permit application.
- Beginning the Design Review Process. The applicant
is then directed to the City Planning Commission office (City Hall,
Room 501) to fill out an application for design review, discuss the
need for submission of any additional materials, and identify a tentative
date for the Committee meeting.
- Scheduling the Committee Meeting. Once it has been
determined that your application is complete, you will be notified
of the date and time of the Design Review Advisory Committee meeting.
Applications will be placed on the Committees agenda only if
received by no later than 12 noon one week prior to the next regularly
scheduled meeting. This deadline is necessary to permit proper review.
- The Committee Meeting. So that the Committee can reach
its decision in a single session, it is recommended: 1) that both
the business or property owner and the project architect or contractor
attend the meeting and 2) that a complete plan be presented
including signage, parking, landscaping, etc. At the conclusion of
the presentation, the Comittee will recommend either approval, approval
with conditions, disapproval, or the submission of revised plans for
- City Planning Commission Decision. Based on the recommendation
of the Design Review Advisory Committee, the City Planning Commission
(or the Director acting on behalf of the Commission) makes a final
decision on the proposal. In the case of an approval, a Certificate
of Appropriateness is issued (indicating all relevant conditions)
and a copy of the approved plans is stamped and signed. In the case
of a disapproval, the applicant will be told of the reasons for disapproval
and be given an opportunity to submit a revised plan.
- Issuance of a Building Permit. The Certificate of
Appropriateness and the approved plans will then be transmitted to
the Division of Building and Housing (City Hall, Room 505), which
issues the necessary Building Permits.
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