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Design Review Committee
  • 1:00 p.m
  • Third Wednesday of every month
  • City Hall Tower Room T-332

The Design Review Committee (DRC) is a three-member subcommittee of the Historic Landmarks Commission (HLC). One member serves as chairperson of the committee.

DRC Purpose
  • To provide a public forum for discussion of complex historic preservation permits early in the design process and prior to review by the Historic Landmarks Commission, or;
  • To provide a public forum for discussion of projects involving the rehabilitation of historic resources not reviewed by the full Historic Landmarks Commission. 

The discussion is focused on developing projects that will comply with the Secretary of the Interior’s Standards for the Treatment of Historic Properties (Standards). Generally, a project that follows the Standards;
  • Is considered as mitigated to a less than significant impact on a historic resource that is eligible for the California Register of Historical Resources, the National Register of Historic Places and a candidate City Landmark, and;
  • Retains the integrity of a resource listed on the City’s Historic Resources Inventory as a structure of merit or contributing structure to a conservation area, so that the resource can continue to become more significant with the passage of time.

Application Review

Projects with the potential to benefit from discussion are referred to the DRC for review at the discretion of the planning director. Project managers coordinate the referral of the current historic preservation permit, development permit, and preliminary review applications that impact historic resources. Examples include:
  • Any alterations that may have a significant effect on the façade of a historic resource
  • Any change to a historic resource that might result in loss of integrity of character-defining features
  • Substantial expansion of a historic building
  • New construction in a historic district or conservation area

DRC Meetings 
The meeting notice is posted in front of City Hall 72 hours prior to the meeting date. Typically, the DRC allows 20 minutes for review of each project. The informal format is as follows:
  • The applicant will make a brief presentation (3 to 5 minutes) describing the preservation design considerations pertaining to the exterior alterations of the building(s)
  • The DRC will discuss the project and consider whether the project is consistent with the Standards. While committee members may discuss the appropriateness of a design approach in addressing the Standards, their role is not to design the project. The DRC may suggest that the applicant retain a historic preservation architect due to the nature of the rehabilitation proposed.
  • At the end of the meeting, the DRC chairperson will summarize the issues that were identified, the position of the committee members, and list all recommendations for revisions. The summary includes majority as well as minority or split opinions. The summary should cite all pertinent Standards.
  • The DRC works to provide a public discussion regarding conformance with the Standards, and to forward comments to the HLC and the Director of Planning. The Director of Planning makes the final decision regarding Historic Preservation permits, development permits, and environmental review.
Following the Meeting
The project applicant will work with the project manager to determine the necessary revisions for submittal to the full HLC and/or the director of planning.

Upon receipt of revised project exhibits, the project will be reviewed by the Director and scheduled for a public hearing if required. Hearing agendas and staff reports are posted on the planning website. HLC staff reports will include the DRC summary and address the project’s response to the comments. At the HLC hearing, the DRC chairperson and preservation planning staff will provide clarification of the summary as requested by the HLC. The HLC will review and make recommendations regarding Standards conformance. In taking action on a permit, the Director of Planning, or the City Council or Planning Commission on appeal, will consider the recommendations of the HLC.