Chapter 18.235


18.235.010    Title.

18.235.020    Application.

18.235.030    Purpose.

18.235.040    Authority.

18.235.050    Definitions – Use of words and phrases.

18.235.060    Delegation of design review authority, consultants, expedited matters.

18.235.070    Procedure.

18.235.080    Pre-application meeting.

18.235.090    Application materials.

18.235.100    Criteria.

18.235.110    Decision.

18.235.120    Appeals.

18.235.010 Title.

This chapter shall be entitled “Design Review.” [Ord. 1591 § 568, 2014.]

18.235.020 Application.

(1) Except as provided below, no building permit shall be issued by the City for any regulated improvement except upon prior approval of the Planning, Building and Public Works Department and no significant changes, as defined in chapter 1 of the International Building Code (“IBC”), shall be made in or to an architectural feature of any regulated improvement without the prior approval of the Planning, Building and Public Works Department. Deviation from a plan approved by the Planning, Building and Public Works Department shall be permitted only after the filing and approval of an amended plan.

(2) The following development projects or changes shall be exempt from design review:

(a) Re-striping and other minor changes to parking lots that do not result in changes to landscaping, a reconfiguration of the lot or the creation of five or more new parking spaces.

(b) Fences that do not require a separate development permit.

(c) Underground utilities are not included as development subject to design review.

(d) Right-of-way improvements not associated with development subject to design review.

(e) Landscaping alterations shall not be subject to design review.

(f) Storm water facilities located within street rights-of-way or regional storm water facilities shall not be subject to design review.

(g) Expansion or remodeling work of any building which is equal to or less than five percent of the building’s existing floor area, or overall size in cases where the overall floor area is not applicable due to replacement remodeling where significant changes to the building are made without changing the floor area.

(h) Any improvement to multifamily, commercial or institutional structures not open to exterior view.

(3) The Planning, Building and Public Works Department may require a bond to the City in an amount reasonable to secure the installation of landscaping, screens, exterior lighting, walkways, and other similar site improvements. [Ord. 1591 § 569, 2014.]

18.235.030 Purpose.

These regulations are adopted for the following purposes:

(1) To promote the public health, safety, and general welfare of the citizens of the City;

(2) To recognize that land use regulations aimed at the orderliness of community growth, the protection and enhancement of property values, the minimization of discordant and unsightly surroundings, the avoidance of inappropriateness and poor quality of design and other environmental and aesthetic objectives provide not only for the health, safety, and general welfare of the citizens, but also for their comfort and prosperity and the beauty and balance of the community, and as such, are the proper and necessary concerns of local government;

(3) To protect, preserve, and enhance the social, cultural, economic, environmental, aesthetic, and natural values that have established the desirable quality and unique character of Des Moines;

(4) To promote and enhance construction and maintenance practices that will tend to promote visual quality throughout Des Moines;

(5) To recognize environmental and aesthetic design as an integral part of the planning process; and

(6) To implement adopted land use policies and regulations, including the Des Moines Comprehensive Plan, Marina District Design Guidelines, Pacific Ridge Neighborhood Improvement Plan, and Pacific Ridge Design Guidelines. [Ord. 1591 § 570, 2014.]

18.235.040 Authority.

This chapter is adopted pursuant to the provisions of chapters 35.63, 35A.63 and 36.70A RCW and other applicable laws. [Ord. 1591 § 571, 2014.]

18.235.050 Definitions – Use of words and phrases.

As used in this chapter, unless the context or subject matter clearly requires otherwise, the words or phrases defined in this section shall have the indicated meanings.

“Architectural feature” means the exterior architectural treatment and general arrangement of the portions of an improvement and site that are open to external view, including, but not limited to, the kind, color, and texture of building materials, types of windows and doors, attached or detached signs, landscaping, screens, parking lots, exterior lighting, walkways, and other fixtures appurtenant to such portions.

“Capital improvement” means an improvement visible to the public, done by the City upon property owned by or under control of the City.

“Improvement” means a building, structure, or other improvement to real property. It shall include, but not be limited to, street improvements, street furniture, park developments, private and public schools, commercial and business developments, public utility and governmental buildings and structures, religious institutions, hotels, motels, apartment houses and other multiple-family dwellings, certain single-family dwelling units, hospitals, rest homes and other similar developments, and commercial and noncommercial recreational areas. It shall not include underground wires, pipes, or other similar underground utility installations.

“Regulated improvements” means an improvement upon any property within the City, other than one single-family dwelling unit, structure, or building, and uses accessory thereto; except multiple building permit applications by the same applicant or one standing in privity to the applicant for the construction of a series of single-family dwellings in the same subdivision or short subdivision are considered regulated improvements.

“Street furniture” means improvements located in streets or rights-of-way and parking lots or other similar open spaces on a site, including, but not limited to, light standards, utility poles, newspaper stands, bus shelters, planters, traffic signs, traffic signals, benches, guard rails, rockeries, retaining walls, mailboxes, litter containers, and fire hydrants. [Ord. 1591 § 572, 2014.]

18.235.060 Delegation of design review authority, consultants, expedited matters.

The City Manager or the City Manager’s designee shall have responsibility for all design review decisions, but may delegate such authority to subordinates who are qualified in the fields of planning, engineering, building, landscaping, and the like. The City Manager or the City Manager’s designee is further authorized to employ consultants if, in his discretion, the scope, size, or nature of the project requires services beyond the capabilities of City staff. In the event such consultants are employed, the building permit fee may be increased to include the cost of consulting services. In the event the City Manager or the City Manager’s designee finds that the application presents special problems relative to planning or zoning, he may decline to take action and refer the application to the City Council as an expedited matter. [Ord. 1591 § 573, 2014.]

18.235.070 Procedure.

The City Manager or the City Manager’s designee may adopt by executive order procedural rules for the efficient implementation of this chapter. The Planning, Building and Public Works Department shall complete its review and make its decision and/or recommendations within 40 days after the final plans and elevations have been submitted, and failure to do so shall be considered approval. Decisions shall be based on the criteria found in DMMC 18.235.100. [Ord. 1591 § 574, 2014.]

18.235.080 Pre-application meeting.

(1) In order to facilitate application review and approval, the Planning, Building and Public Works Director may require a pre-application meeting as outlined by DMMC 18.20.100.

(2) In addition to the purposes outlined by DMMC 18.20.100, the design review pre-application has the following purposes:

(a) Identify applicable design review approval procedures, decisional criteria and guidelines; and

(b) Discuss information provided by the applicant and to recommend modifications or to identify additional information that may be needed.

(3) The design review pre-application meeting shall not constitute acceptance, approval, conditional approval, denial, public notice, or any other land use decision. [Ord. 1591 § 575, 2014.]

18.235.090 Application materials.

Unless waived by the Planning, Building and Public Works Director, the following application materials and other applicable materials as may be required shall be submitted for any proposed design review approval.

(1) A site plan showing the location of proposed and existing buildings, parking, exterior lighting, signs and landscaping;

(2) Colored elevations of exterior building facades indicating the proposed building materials, finish colors, fenestration patterns, rooflines, etc.;

(3) Detailed drawings of architectural features, signage, trim, etc.;

(4) Photos clearly showing the facades of adjacent development, general streetscape character and territorial and other views from the site, if any;

(5) A perspective drawing of the building envelope allowed by applicable setback, lot coverage, and building height regulations;

(6) A summary of the objectives of the proposed construction or development, including a summary of proposed land uses;

(7) The final conceptual drawings, elevations, floor plans, and landscaping plan for the building site;

(8) Samples of proposed building materials and colors;

(9) A written description of how the proposed development satisfies applicable design guidelines. [Ord. 1591 § 576, 2014.]

18.235.100 Criteria.

Decisions to approve, conditionally approve, or deny a design review application shall be based on the following criteria:

(1) Relationship to Building Site.

(a) The site should be planned to accomplish the desirable transition with the streetscape, provide for adequate planting, and to facilitate pedestrian movement.

(b) Parking and service areas shall be located, designed, and screened from public view.

(c) The height and scale of each building should be compatible with its site and adjoining buildings.

(2) Relationship of Building and Site to Adjoining Area.

(a) Buildings and structures should be made compatible with adjacent buildings of conflicting architectural styles by such means as screens, sight breaks, and materials.

(b) Harmony in texture, lines, and masses should be encouraged.

(c) Attractive landscape transition to adjoining properties should be provided.

(3) Landscape and Site Treatment.

(a) Where existing topographic patterns contribute to beauty and utility of a development, they should be preserved and developed.

(b) Grades of walks, parking spaces, terraces, other paved areas, and large expanse of walls should provide an inviting and stable appearance.

(c) Landscape treatment should enhance architectural features, strengthen vistas and important axes, and provide shade.

(d) In locations where plants will be susceptible to injury by pedestrian or motor traffic, they should be protected by appropriate curbs, tree guards, or other devices.

(e) Where building sites limit planting, the placement of trees or shrubs in parkways or paved areas is encouraged.

(f) Screening of service yards and other places which tend to be unsightly should be accomplished by use of walls, fencing, planting, or combinations of these. Screening should be effective in winter and summer.

(g) In areas where general planting will not prosper, other materials such as fences, walls, and pavings of wood, brick, stone, gravel, etc., should be used.

(h) Exterior lighting, when used, should enhance the building design and the adjoining landscape. Lighting standards and fixtures should be of a design and size compatible with the building and adjacent areas. Lighting should be shielded and restrained in design. Excessive brightness and brilliant colors should be avoided.

(4) Building Design.

(a) Evaluation of a project shall be based on the quality of its design and relationship to the natural setting of its surroundings.

(b) Building components, such as windows, doors, eaves, and parapets, should be proportionate and relative to each other.

(c) Colors should be harmonious, with bright or brilliant colors used only for accent.

(d) Unless otherwise modified in this Title, design attention should be given to mechanical equipment or other utility hardware on roofs, grounds, or buildings to screen them from view.

(e) Exterior lighting, when used, shall be part of the architectural concept. Fixtures, standards, and all exposed accessories should be harmonious with the building design.

(f) Monotony of design in single or multiple building projects should be avoided. Variety of detail, form, and siting should be used to provide visual interest. In multiple building projects, variable siting of individual buildings may be used to prevent a monotonous appearance.

(5) Signs.

(a) Signs shall conform to the ordinances of the City relative to signs.

(b) Signs should be part of the architectural concept. Size, materials, color, lettering, location, number, and arrangements should be harmonious with the building design.

(c) The number and size of signs should be minimized to avoid visual clutter.

(d) Colors shall be used harmoniously and with restraint. Excessive brightness and brilliant colors shall be avoided. Lighting should be harmonious with the design. If external spot or flood lighting is used, it should be arranged so that light source is shielded from view.

(6) Miscellaneous Structures and Street Furniture.

(a) Miscellaneous structures and street furniture located on private property, public ways, and other public property should be designed to be part of the architectural concept of the design and landscape. Materials should be compatible with buildings. Scale should be appropriate. Colors should be in harmony with buildings and surroundings. Proportions should be to scale.

(b) Lighting in connection with miscellaneous structures and street furniture should meet the criteria applicable to site, landscape, buildings, and signs.

(7) In addition to the criteria above, properties within Pacific Ridge as delineated by the Des Moines Comprehensive Plan shall satisfy the purpose and intent of the Pacific Ridge Design Guidelines.

(8) In addition to the criteria above, properties within Downtown Neighborhood, as delineated by the Des Moines Comprehensive Plan, shall satisfy the purpose and intent of the Marina District Design Guidelines. [Ord. 1673 § 2, 2017; Ord. 1591 § 577, 2014.]

18.235.110 Decision.

(1) The Planning, Building and Public Works Director may approve, conditionally approve, or deny a design review application as provided by chapter 18.20 DMMC and this chapter.

(2) The Planning, Building and Public Works Director shall provide a written report or decision as provided by chapter 18.20 DMMC. The written report or decision shall include the following information:

(a) The name and address of the applicant;

(b) The location of the proposed development;

(c) A brief description of the proposed development;

(d) The decision to approve, conditionally approve, or deny the design review application;

(e) If the application is conditionally approved or denied, the applicable decision criteria shall be identified;

(f) The date of the report or decision. [Ord. 1591 § 578, 2014.]

18.235.120 Appeals.

A person or persons aggrieved by an action of the Planning, Building and Public Works Department under this chapter may file an appeal pursuant to chapters 18.20 and 18.240 DMMC with the Hearing Examiner within 14 days of the Department decision in accordance with the Hearing Examiner code. The filing of an appeal shall be considered a Type I appeal and shall suspend the issuance of a building permit until final action is taken on the appeal. [Ord. 1591 § 579, 2014.]