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Site Plan and Design Review is a Planning entitlement required for residential and commercial existing building additions and remodels, as well as new construction. Parking lots, landscape areas, and signage can also trigger SPDR. Small and simple projects with minimal aesthetic impact may be exempt. Find the Planning Entitlement Application, fee worksheets, and exemption forms on the Planning Forms page.

Primary responsibilities of SPDR are to evaluate and take action on proposed development to ensure:

  • Attractive site and building design.
  • Compatibility with surrounding development.
  • Consistency with the standards or intent of the Development Code.
  • Consistency with the principles and intent of applicable Design Guidelines.

Site Plan and Design Review has three levels of project review: Staff, Director, and Planning and Design Commission (PDC).  Director and PDC-level review projects involve public hearings and noticing. Staff-level reviews are projects with permitted uses that meet all applicable development code standards and design guidelines criteria. Director-level reviews are projects that require deviations from development code standards and/or design guidelines.

Projects involving landmarks or located within Historic Districts are subject to Preservation Site Plan and Design Review. If the work involves the exterior of a building (including windows and doors,) construction on the site, or involves significant, publicly-accessible interiors (i.e., lobbies, auditoriums, train station, restaurants), then a Planning Entitlement Application for Preservation Site Plan and Design Review will likely be required from the City Planning Division. 

Please click image below for typical process and timeline of a staff-level SPDR project.

Design Review Process flow chart