Design Review Guidelines and Code Provisions
This page is part of the MRSC Design Review topic pages. It includes sample design guidelines for different types of development, including multifamily and commercial, downtown areas, single-familiy, historic areas, transportation corridors, big-box retail development, and neighborhood-scale guidelines.
General Multifamily and Commercial Design Guidelines
This section includes sample general design review manuals and guidelines for commercial, mixed-use, and multifamily development. It includes some code provisions and design review processes.
Washington Sample Guidelines
Out of State Sample Guidelines
Downtown Development Design Guidelines
Quite a few cities have developed specific design guidelines for their downtown.
Single-Family Design Guidlines
Single-family design guidelines generally focus on specific situations, such as neo-traditional development, garage design, steep slopes or unique lot conditions, or transitional areas adjacent to more intensive uses. Design review for single-family development is more common in California and Arizona than in the Northwest.
Historic Preservation Design Guidelines
Design review for historic properties is common and includes development within historic districts as well as individual designated structures outside of districts. Design review of changes to historic properties addresses both preservation of key features of designated buildings and the compatibility of adjacent new development with historic buildings. Landmarks and historic district boards typically review changes to historic structures for compatibility with adopted guidelines that address important designated features of a building and/or characteristics of buildings within a historic district. Many historic preservation guidelines for design review are based on The Secretary of the Interior's Standards for Rehabilitation. Most preservation boards have adapted The Secretary of the Interior's Standards by developing their own guidelines for changes to historic properties.
Transportation Corridors Design Guidelines
Some communities have developed special design guidelines for major transportation routes, including scenic corridors. These are different from public works street design manuals, which focus on engineering construction specifications.
Large-Scale (Big-Box) Retail Development Design Guidelines
Some communities have developed special design guidelines to address big-box retail development, such as Wal-Mart, Costco, Home Depot, and other warehouse-type commercial development.
Subarea and Neighborhood Design Guidelines