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Design Standards

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Learn more about how to apply for non-discretionary design review using objective Design Standards and when development proposals are eligible to use them. Obtain required forms to submit with a development permit application when using objective Design Standards and an early assistance application.
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Design review is required for certain proposals for development located within the Design Overlay Zone. The Design Overlay Zone is shown on the Official Zoning Maps with a letter ’d’ map symbol. For some proposals, the applicant may choose to meet the objective standards of Zoning Code Chapter 33.420.050 and Table 420-2, Design Standards, instead of going through the discretionary Design Review (land use review) process set out in Chapter 33.825, Design Review.

For some proposals for development that is located within both the Design Overlay Zone and a Conservation District or a Conservation Landmark, the applicant may choose to meet the objective standards of Zoning Code Chapter 33.218, Community Design Standards, instead of going through the discretionary Historic Resource Review (land use review) process set out in Chapter 33.846, Historic Resource Reviews.

Please contact Planning and Zoning for more information about applying for a development permit using the Design Standards or the Community Design Standards. You can set up a15-minute appointment with a city planneror call the Zoning Information Line phone number at 503-823-7625 to discuss your questions. You may also set up anEarly Assistance meetingfor a deeper discussion of your proposal.

Development proposals eligible to use objective Design Standards

The objective Design Standards provide an alternative process to Design Review for some proposals. See Zoning Code Chapter 33.420.050 and Table 420-1 to determine if your proposal is eligible to use the objective Design Standards.

Applications for development proposals in the Design Overlay Zone that are within a Conservation District or a Conservation Landmark are not eligible to use the objective Design Standards in Table 420-2. Proposals within a Conservation District or a Conservation Landmark must instead meet the objective standards of Zoning Code Chapter 33.218, Community Design Standards.

Design Standards procedure

Applicants must submit their development permit application to include adequate information and design details on their permit plans to demonstrate the objective standards are met. The Design Standards Scorecard form for the proposal type must be completed by the applicant and submitted to BDS as part of the permit application.

The objective Design Standards include required standards that must be met. Proposals for new development and for major alterations must also meet optional standards. The optional standards are reviewed using a point system. The size of the site determines the number of points required, since larger sites can often incorporate more design features. In addition, buildings over 55 feet in height must meet a higher number of optional standards.

Design Standards applications and forms

Complete the form to submit with your development permit application:

These forms are being developed by the Bureau of Development Services. Please check back for links to these forms or consult the Land Use Services plans reviewer assigned to your permit.

For optional assistance with your proposal prior to submittal of a development permit, please review:

Design Standards fees

See the Land Use Services Fee Schedule for the Design Standards Plan Check fee under Other Land Use Services.