Design Review requirements and districts are established to ensure appropriate design of buildings and properties in furtherance of the following objectives:
No Building Permit shall be issued by the City without design approval by the City Planning Commission, or its Director, for development projects that meet the following criteria for applicability, except that such approval shall not apply to structures that are designated as Landmarks or are located in Landmark Districts, for which design approval shall be the responsibility of the Landmarks Commission.
For the purposes of this Chapter, the following terms shall have the meaning given in the succeeding sections.
341.04 Design Review Districts
Design Review Districts shall be established in accordance with the following provisions.
(a) Designation Criteria. A geographic area designated as a Design Review District shall be at least three (3) acres in size and shall be characterized by development or development opportunity for which improved design can be expected to significantly contribute to achieving one or more of the objectives of this Chapter. The district may be composed of one or more noncontiguous geographic areas, each of which must be at least three (3) acres in size.
341.05 Administrative Procedures
The following procedures are established to govern the processing of applications for Building Permits subject to the regulations of this Chapter.
(a) Contents of Application. In addition to meeting application requirements established in the Building Code and Zoning Code for Building Permit applications, applications governed by the provisions of this Chapter shall include the following elements.
(b) Determination of Applicability and Transmittal to City Planning Director. Upon receipt of an application for a Building Permit, the Director of Building and Housing shall use the standards of Section 341.02 to determine whether the proposed action is governed by the provisions of this Chapter. If it is determined that the action is governed by such provisions, the Director of Building and Housing shall promptly transmit the application to the Director of the City Planning Commission.
(c) Transmittal to Local Design Review Advisory Committee. Upon receipt of a complete application, the City Planning Director shall promptly transmit the application for review and recommendation by the Local Design Review Advisory Committee, as established in Section 341.06. Other required City reviews may be conducted concurrently, as appropriate. In the case of an application for an action that the City Planning Director deems to have no significant impact on the design or appearance of the property, the Director may approve the application administratively without referral to the Local Design Review Advisory Committee.
(d) Standards for Review. An application received pursuant to the provisions of this Chapter shall be reviewed in accordance with the design guidelines of Section 341.07 and any supplemental guidelines adopted by the City Planning Commission for a particular district.
(e) Local Design Review Committee Meeting and Action.
(f) City Planning Commission Meeting and Action. After action by the Local Design Review Advisory Committee, or a failure to act at a meeting in accordance with the requirements of this Section, the City Planning Director shall inform the applicant of the time and location of the City Planning Commission meeting at which the application will be considered. The City Planning Commission shall either approve or disapprove the application or approve the application with modifications or conditions. The Commission may choose to postpone action in order to permit the applicant to prepare revisions if the applicant agrees to such postponement. The Commission shall take action no later than forty-five (45) days after acceptance of a complete application by the City Planning Director unless the applicant has agreed to one or more postponements, including agreed postponements in the Local Design Review Committee process.
(g) Administrative Approval. Pursuant to the "Rules of the City Planning Commission" regarding administrative approvals, the City Planning Director is authorized to act on behalf of the Commission in approving applications recommended for approval by the Local Design Review Advisory Committee and for applications that meet the standard stated in division (c) of this Section. Use of the administrative approval procedure is not authorized in the case of applications for demolition or moving of buildings, other than for buildings that are deemed to be minor accessory structures. Generally, applications for development of new commercial or institutional buildings and for residential developments involving six (6) or more units shall not be approved without referral to the Local Design Review Advisory Committee and the City Planning Commission.
(h) Exemptions. No referral to the City Planning Commission or a Local Design Review Advisory Committee shall be required for projects approved under the City’s Storefront Renovation Program. Such projects may be approved by the action of the City Planning Director subsequent to approval under the Storefront Renovation Program.
341.06 Local Design Review Committees
The City Planning Commission shall establish Local Design Review Advisory Committees to advise the Commission on applications received pursuant to the regulations of this Chapter. The following provisions shall govern the establishment and operation of each such committee.
(a) Appointment of Members. The City Planning Commission shall appoint the members of each Local Design Review Advisory Committee. In making these appointments, the City Planning Commission shall solicit nominations from Community Development Corporations operating within each committee’s geographic area of jurisdiction and the Council members representing each such area. Each Advisory Committee shall be composed of not less than five (5) and not more than eleven (11) members, except that the City Planning Commission may increase membership on a particular committee if necessary to incorporate relevant perspectives and areas of expertise. A maximum of three (3) alternate members may be appointed to each committee. The alternate members may vote in place of members not in attendance at a particular meeting, as determined by the Committee’s chairperson.
(b) Committee Composition. A majority of the members appointed to each Advisory Committee shall be architects or other recognized design professionals, with the remaining members representing businesses or other organizations with operations in the local area or being residents of the local area. The term "recognized design professionals" shall refer to individuals with documented expertise in such fields as architecture, landscape architecture, urban design, graphic design, or historic preservation.
(c) Committee Jurisdiction and Name. Each Local Design Review Advisory Committee shall review applications received pursuant to this Chapter for properties located within the boundaries of its area of jurisdiction, as established by the City Planning Commission. All areas of the City shall be included in the jurisdiction of an Advisory Committee. The City Planning Director shall assign each Local Design Review Advisory Committee a name identified with the area of the City served by the Committee.
(d) Term of Appointment. Each member of an Advisory Committee shall be appointed for an initial term of one (1) year and thereafter a term of two (2) years. After expiration of the initial one-year term, an individual’s membership shall continue until the City Planning Commission takes action to replace the member with a new appointment or until the member resigns. The City Planning Commission shall replace members whose attendance is poor or who fail to act in accordance with the regulations of this Chapter.
(e) Quorum and Voting. A majority of the Advisory Committee's membership shall constitute a quorum, without which no votes may be taken. Approval of an application shall require the affirmative vote of a majority of the members present at a meeting.
(f) Meetings and Records. The Advisory Committee shall meet at least twice monthly unless there is no business to conduct. The staff representative of the City Planning Commission shall be designated as the Advisory Committee's Secretary and shall be responsible for prompt preparation of minutes, which shall be retained by the City Planning Commission.
341.07 Design Guidelines
In reviewing applications subject to provisions of this Chapter, the Local Design Review Advisory Committee and the City Planning Commission shall follow the design guidelines set forth in the succeeding sections as well as any supplemental design guidelines adopted by Commission for a particular district.
(a) Design Compatibility. Alterations, additions and new development shall be compatible in scale, material, color, placement and character with the design of the subject property as well as the design of properties that are representative of the area's most valued architectural and environmental qualities. In evaluating compatibility, consideration shall also be given to the value of diversity and individuality in design.
341.08 Demolition and Moving
For applications proposing the demolition or moving of a building in a Design Review District, other than for emergency demolition activities ordered by the Director of the Building and Housing to remedy conditions that pose immediate danger to human life or health, the following provisions shall apply.
(a) Criteria for Action. In considering a request to demolish or move a building or other structure located within a Design Review District, the City Planning Commission and its Local Design Review Advisory Committee shall consider the following factors in making its decision to approve or disapprove the request.
(b) Nature of Action. The City Planning Commission may delay action, for a period of not more than six (6) months, on the demolition or moving of a building in order to allow economic viability studies to be conducted, as well as to allow interested parties the opportunity to explore alternatives to the proposed action. At the end of such period, the Commission shall either approve or disapprove the request to demolish or move, or may choose to delay action for a second and final period of not more than six (6) months if the Commission determines that this additional time period may be useful in securing an alternative to the proposed demolition or moving. At the end of such second and final period, the Commission shall either approve or disapprove the request.