Chapter 17.120


17.120.010    Purpose.

17.120.020    Applicability.

17.120.030    Submittal requirements.

17.120.040    Design review process.

17.120.050    Design departures.

17.120.060    Modifications to approvals.

17.120.070    Lapse of approval.

17.120.080    Appeals.

17.120.010 Purpose.

The purpose of this section is to further these goals:

A. Provide a well-defined and predictable design review process for commercial and residential projects.

B. Improve the appearance of Blaine by ensuring high-quality and consistent construction and renovation.

C. Emphasize Blaine’s historic character in the central business district by encouraging historically inspired buildings and renovations with a turn-of-the-nineteenth-century feel. (Ord. 2879 § 1 (Exh. A § 5), 2016; Ord. 2865 § 1 (Exh. A), 2015)

17.120.020 Applicability.

A. Compliance with applicable design standards are required for the following:

1. New structures that require a building permit.

2. Additions to an existing building’s street facing facade.

3. Additions to an existing building on the side or rear of the building that exceeds 25 percent of the existing floor area.

4. Construction, replacement or removal of new or existing awnings, marquees, sunshades or other construction projecting over the city right-of-way.

5. Any alteration completed over a two-year period to a street facing building facade that exceeds 25 percent or more of the wall plane of the subject facade.

6. Work that significantly alters the architectural concept of a structure that is part of an approved development permit, such as a planned unit development or conditional use.

B. Exceptions. The following construction projects shall be specifically excluded from commercial design review:

1. Emergency repairs.

2. Minor maintenance or repairs.

3. All work confined entirely to the interior of an existing building or other structure.

4. All structural repairs to an existing building or other structure that do not affect the building exterior.

5. Replacement of similar roofing material. (Ord. 2865 § 1 (Exh. A), 2015)

17.120.030 Submittal requirements.

A. Pre-Design Clarification. An applicant is encouraged to meet with the director prior to submitting a project proposal for design review to discuss a project’s concept, establish which design standards apply to the proposed development, and to determine what drawings, perspectives or other materials the applicant will need to submit with the design review application.

B. Design Review Submission. The applicant shall submit to the community development services department three sets of printed materials and one electronic copy that clearly depict the dimensions, materials and colors for all sides of the proposed project. Printed materials shall be 24 inches by 36 inches or size approved by the department. (Ord. 2865 § 1 (Exh. A), 2015)

17.120.040 Design review process.

A. Upon receipt of a complete design review application, the director will determine if the proposal includes a complex architectural review. This determination will be based on the magnitude of the project and the complexity of the proposed architectural features. The director will then notify the applicant of the determination of completeness and if the project requires a complex architectural review or a standard architectural review.

1. Complex architectural reviews shall be undertaken by a third-party review specialist (a private sector licensed architect) and the community development director.

a. The review specialist must be a licensed architect mutually agreed upon by the applicant and the director. In the event of an inability to agree, the city council shall appoint an architect at the recommendation of the city manager.

b. The review specialist shall charge an hourly fee for design review services agreed to under contract with the city.

c. The applicant shall compensate the city for expenses incurred for project-specific design review.

d. The community development director shall fully consider recommendations of the review specialist before making a final determination of design compliance.

2. Standard architectural reviews shall be conducted by the director.

B. The application materials shall be reviewed for compliance with the relevant design standards and policy and shall either be approved, conditionally approved or denied.

C. The terms of design review approval will become conditions of approval applying to each subsequent development permit. No subsequent development permit will be issued unless it is consistent with the design approval.

D. The director shall send written notice of decision to the applicant and all other parties of record. (Ord. 2865 § 1 (Exh. A), 2015)

17.120.050 Design departures.

A. If a design departure is requested by the applicant, the design review decision, including the requested design departure, shall be reviewed and decided upon using the process contained in BMC 17.120.040.

B. The director may grant a design departure only if the director finds that the following requirements are met:

1. The design departure request is determined consistent with the purpose statement for the applicable design standards when considering the type and magnitude of the proposal;

2. The design departure will not have any substantial detrimental effect on nearby properties, the zoning district or the city;

3. Additions and alterations to existing buildings shall be given greater latitude, provided the overall level of nonconformity of the structure’s design shall not be increased. (Ord. 2865 § 1 (Exh. A), 2015)

17.120.060 Modifications to approvals.

The director may independently approve a modification to a final design if:

A. The applicant provides reasonable justification and supporting documentation for the approved commercial design modification; and

B. The modification satisfies the requirements of a design departure as defined in BMC 17.120.050(B). (Ord. 2865 § 1 (Exh. A), 2015)

17.120.070 Lapse of approval.

A. Unless otherwise specified in the decision granting design review approval, a commercial design approval shall be valid for one year or until such time that a building permit application is accepted by community development services. The commercial design approval shall then run concurrently with the building permit application. If the building permit expires, then the commercial design approval also expires.

B. During the one year after commercial design review approval is granted and before a building permit application is accepted by community development services, the director may grant a single one-year extension based on reasonable justification by the applicant that they intend to submit building permits within the next year. (Ord. 2865 § 1 (Exh. A), 2015)

17.120.080 Appeals.

Appeals of a final decision shall be submitted pursuant to BMC 17.06.180, Appeals. (Ord. 2865 § 1 (Exh. A), 2015)