Design Advice Requests

​​​​​​​Design advice requests (DAR) are a form of early assistance and a way to get feedback on early design concepts before a land use review. An applicant may request design advice from the Design Commission. You may also request design advice from the Historic Landmarks Commission.
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A Design Advice Request is an optional request for feedback from the Design Commission or Historic Landmarks Commission prior to submittal of a Design or Historic Resource Review.  In a few instances it is required prior to submittal of a Design or other Land Use Review. This feedback is advisory and preliminary in nature. This meeting is not a land use review. Decisions are not made in the design advice requests process. 

For further assistance with the land use and zoning regulations that apply to your site, please contact Planning and Zoning. 

Design advice request applications and important forms 

Possible topics for a design advice request 

Staff and applicant will identify four to five issues for the Commission to discuss. Possible topics include (but are not limited to):

  • Compatibility with Historic Resources
  • Design Coherency
  • Form / Massing
  • Materiality
  • Outdoor Spaces
  • Parking / Loading
  • Pedestrian / Public Realm
  • Placemaking
  • Potential Modifications / Adjustments
  • Response to Context

Design guidelines and design advice requests

Design guidelines are used to guide the conversation during the design advice request process. They are the approval criteria used in Design Review and Historic Resource Review. Design Commission feedback will relate to the concept’s response to the context, public realm, and quality. Guidelines generally address one or more of these three design tenets.

The Historic Landmarks Commission organizes their feedback based on macro- and micro- level issues related to the applicable approval criteria. 

Design Guidelines can be found online in the related Design Guidelines webpage. 

Submittal requirements for design advice requests 

The Design Advice Request Information Sheet provides an overview of the procedure and deliverables. Design advice requests are intended to align with the schematic design phase of the architectural design process. The following information and drawings should not be presented at a design advice request discussion:

  • Fully developed site, floor, and roof plans
  • Detailed elevations
  • Fully rendered images
  • Final material selections
  • Cutsheets for specific building
  • Detailed Landscape Plan

Design advice requests process and how to submit an application by email

Submit your Design Advice Request by email to A Land Use Services technician will contact you within 3-4 business days with instructions for providing payment for emailed applications. 

Design Advice Request meetings are scheduled by staff following the initial submittal. Meetings are typically held 5-7 weeks after the submittal date and may be rescheduled by staff as the Commission agenda requires.

The design advice request fee covers one meeting and corresponding noticing. A re-noticing fee will be charged when the DAR meeting is rescheduled at the applicant’s request. Review the Land Use Services Fees Schedule.

For more information on Historic Resource and Design Reviews, see our Design Review and Historic Resource Review pages.

More ways to get early assistance with your project

Learn more about other early assistance options and set up an early assistance meeting for a deeper discussion about your project.