17.04.230 – Design review

A.     Purpose

Design Review is an administrative, staff-level review process, the purpose of which is to ensure that development and redevelopment occur in a manner that promotes the general welfare of the City, is harmonious with surrounding properties, and is consistent with the City’s ordinances and Comprehensive Plan.  Design Review requires conformance with standards and guidelines governing physical layout and site design as well as architectural design, to achieve the following purposes:

  1. To ensure the compatibility of buildings, structures, and site improvements with surrounding property.
  2. To protect and enhance the character and quality of the built environment in St. Charles.
  3. To ensure the efficient use of land and the adequacy of public and private services and utilities.
  4. To minimize traffic and safety hazards and to ensure convenient and safe vehicular and pedestrian circulation on the site and in relation to adjacent property and public streets.
  5. To protect natural, environmental, historic and archaeological resources on the site and surrounding areas.
  6. To create opportunities for people to meet, interact, and enjoy their community.

B.      When Required

Administrative Design Review approval shall be required prior to issuance of Building Permits and Site Development Permits for new buildings, building additions, exterior alterations, signs, and site improvements such as paving, parking lots, lighting and grading, except in the following instances:

  1. Design Review is not required for one and two family dwellings on individual lots in any RS Suburban Residential or RE Estate Residential zoning district.
  2. Design Review is not required when the proposed construction includes no improvements, or only de minimus improvements, that are regulated by the Design Review Standards and Guidelines (Chapter 17.06).
  3. Planned Unit Developments:  Conformance with the Design Review Standards and Guidelines (Chapter 17.06) is required as part of the review process for Planned Unit Developments.  Therefore, administrative Design Review approval is not required prior to issuance of a building permit for properties within a Planned Unit Development.
  4. Historic Properties: Administrative Design Review with respect to building design is not required where the Historic Preservation Commission has the authority to issue or deny a Certificate of Appropriateness (COA).  In conducting its review for a COA, the Historic Preservation Commission shall apply any applicable Design Review standards of Chapter 17.06, according to the corresponding zoning district in which the property is located, in addition to the applicable standards of Chapter 17.32, Historic Preservation.  If the Historic Preservation Commission determines that there is a conflict between the standards for Design Review and the standards for issuance of a COA, the provisions relating to issuance of a COA shall govern.  All other aspects of administrative Design Review, such as review of a Landscape Plan, shall be required.

C.      Application and Approval

No separate application is required for an administrative Design Review.  The Building and Code Enforcement Division Manager shall forward applications for Building Permits and Site Development Permits requiring administrative Design Review to the Director of Community Development for review.  The Director of Community Development shall grant Design Review approval if the permit application complies with the Standards and Guidelines of Chapter 17.06, “Design Review Standards and Guidelines”.  If the Director of Community Development determines that it does not conform, he/she shall inform the applicant in writing as to which standards were not met, and may offer recommendations as to how to gain compliance.

For projects requiring administrative Design Review, permit applicants are encouraged to schedule a Pre-Application meeting or an informal consultation with the Director of Community Development or his/her designee prior to filing a permit application.

D.     Appeal of Administrative Decision

An Appeal may be taken from the decision of the Director of Community Development regarding Design Review, as provided in Section 17.04.300.

(2015-Z-25: § 3)