Design Review Process Overview

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Overview of the Design Review Process

DIMES-Apply HereThe Design Review process has been established to ensure quality of design for site plans, landscape plans, and building design.  The requirements for site plan review and design review are established in the Administrative chapters of the Zoning Ordinance.  Established Design Guidelines are also used to help direct and evaluate the quality of the proposed development.  The ordinance established the threshold for when developments require full design review. All projects are required to meet or exceed the standards established in the zoning ordinance.

The Design Review (DR) process includes review of new applications and significant modifications to previously approved applications by the Design Review Board (DRB).  The Administrative Design Review (ADR) is for minor modifications to previously approved applications.  Product review of dwellings in production subdivisions is also part of the City's design review process.

Submittal and Review Process for DR Applications

A formal application for the DR process can be made after completing the pre-submittal [PDF] process.  The following describes the basic steps involved in the formal DR process.

  1. A complete application with all required attachments is received by staff according to the established deadline dates [PDF]
  2. The material is provided to the Design Review Board (DRB) and scheduled for their next work session. A DRB work session is an informal opportunity for the applicant and DRB members to review the application and make recommendations regarding the proposed design.
  3. The applicant makes a follow-up submittal addressing the DRB's recommendations.
  4. Notice is provided to the public regarding the proposed development.
  5. Staff reviews the revised submittal.  If all of the design issues have been resolved consistent with the direction of the DRB, the Planning Director approves the application.  If there are still items that need further clarification or direction from the DRB, it can be scheduled for a subsequent work session for additional review and discussion.
  6. Following an opportunity for citizens to comment on a final design, the Planning Director can approve the case with stipulations needed to meet the design objectives.  If the applicant does not agree with all of the requirements, the staff decision can be appealed to the DRB.
  7. If the applicant does not agree with the decision of the DRB, the final plan can be appealed to the City Council (see Chapter 77 of the Zoning Ordinance).

Design Review Guidelines

Submittal and Review Process for Administrative DR Applications

An application for administrative design review can be made any time.  There are no set deadlines for the receipt of administrative applications.  Once a complete application is made on line, staff shall process the case in a timely manner.  If necessary, the applicant may be asked to provide revised or more complete information.  Staff also reserves the right to consult with the Design Review Board (DRB) as part of an administrative review.  Final approval is in the form of a letter from the Planning Director.  Should the applicant not agree with the requirements of the administrative approval, they can appeal the decision to the Design Review Board (see Chapter 77 of the Zoning Ordinance).

Submittal and Review Process for Product Review

The review of single-residence homes in subdivisions where the builder builds homes from a preset list of floor plans and elevations is referred to as product review.  Product review may be considered by the Planning and Zoning board as part of review of the subdivision plat or may be considered administratively by staff following plat approval.  The proposed housing product is reviewed against Mesa's approved Residential Guidelines [PDF].

Product review looks at all sides of the product for architecture details such as:

  • trim around all windows, except for accent windows;
  • continuous wainscot detailing, base molding or details around the sides of product and returned to the fence or bay window projection;
  • continuous eave trim and/or molding and continuous parapet details;
  • all columns at roof projections to be similarly detailed and dimensional;
  • incorporation of patios into the building mass; and,
  • design with an integrally designed roof drainage system.
An Administrative Review Application must be completed online to initiate review.  Administrative process have no application deadlines or set review schedules.  Once a case planner is assigned, they will contact the applicant to review the processing schedule and discuss any additional information needed. Administrative Review Guidelines [PDF]


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