Design Review Overview

What is the Purpose of Design Review?

Virtually all commercial, industrial, offi ce and multi-family residential zones have Design Review approval requirements. The Design Review process protects property rights and values, enhances important environmental features of the City and ensures that the general appearance of buildings and site improvements are consistent with the goals of the City.

Design Review goals include: 

  • Enhancing properties with adequate landscaping
  • Proper circulation within parking areas
  • Providing sidewalks to meet pedestrian needs
  • Encouraging architecture that responds to the needs of the users and presents an attractive exterior to the public and adjoining property owners.

Design Review Districts

Boise has two types of Design Overlay Districts.

  • D: Design Review District
    The “D” District covers most of the City. Applications are reviewed by the Design Review Committee.
  • DD: Downtown Design Review District
    The “DD” District generally covers the downtown area of the City. All Design Review applications are reviewed by the Design Review Committee.

Design Review Approvals

There are two types of Design Review procedures.
Note: Staff ultimately decides whether an application will be reviewed at a Staff or Committee level.

  • Staff Level Applications are reviewed by staff and do not require a public hearing.
  • Committee Level Applications require a public hearing before the Design Review Committee.

Staff Level Approvals

The following types of applications may be handled as a Staff Level approval.

Design Review Districts
  1. A new residential building containing 2 - 6 units or less and not greater than two stories.
  2. A new residential planned development containing less than 50 dwelling units which has received conceptual or detailed conditional use approval by the Planning & Zoning Commission.
  3. A new office or commercial building not exceeding 5,000 sq. ft. gross fl oor area which is not adjacent to a residential district or use.
  4. A new industrial building not exceeding 10,000 sq. ft. gross fl oor area which is not adjacent to a residential district or use.
  5. A new commercial, industrial or mixed planned development less than 2 acres in size that has received conditional use approval from the Commission.
  6. Various types of business signs.
  7. An alteration or addition to an existing building.
  8. Parking lots.
  9. Various modifi cations to already approved plans.
Downtown Design Review Districts
  1. All minor alterations to existing buildings.
  2. Various types of business signs.
  3. Parking lots.
  4. Any canopies and awnings.

Design Review Committee Approvals

All other Design Review applications require Committee Level approvals. Please contact the Planning Department for a list of scheduled public hearings.


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