Blog Post

Regarding the Design Review Process

Posted By Kate Washington on January 9, 2013

  • Featured News, Planning

The entire Pearl District is a design review zone which means that the larger neighborhood is given the opportunity to weigh in on the design of new buildings and improvements. This process occurs in the Planning and Transportation Committee for the Pearl District Neighborhood Association.


The city has a multi step design review process for new projects. To give a real world example, let’s look at the proposed Hampton Inn on NW 9th Avenue. That project is currently going through the optional Design Advice Process with the city. The Design Advice phase is exactly what it sounds like – the developer is looking for advice and is not submitting their final proposal for official review. The goal of this process is to get early feedback from the City Design Commission before finalizing design. To that end, it is an informal process that allows the developer to get a better sense of direction before getting too deep into the design process. The Planning Committee approaches this stage in a similar manner – giving informal advice in the hope of getting great projects to add to the larger community. The Hampton Inn project will be at our next planning meeting on January 15th for our advice.


The next level of the City’s Design Review Process is a formal Design Review. The developer will submit the design that they hope to build. The Planning Committee sees these projects prior to the formal Design Review Hearing. This review is much more critical as the understanding is that the building design being presented could indeed be the building that stands on the corner. Just like the Design Commission, the PDNA Planning Committee looks at that project to see if the project conforms with the River District Design Guidelines, the Central City Guidelines, and when applicable with the Historic Review Guidelines. The committee formally votes on the design and submits written or oral testimony to the Commission at this stage.


Sincerely –
Patricia Gardner

Author: Kate Washington

Kate is the PDNA's Communication Committee chair leader.

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  1. Kate Washington

    Hi Geoff –

    I think your perspective is useful. Some neighbors are objecting, not to the addition of the hotels, but to the design and impact on the neighborhood. The good news is that the developer will be here next week to seek our input and then the process can really get started.

    At this time, we don’t have any information about the possible 3rd hotel, just the rumor of it. As soon as we get a notice, though, it will be mentioned at a planning committee meeting.

    We’d be glad to have you involved with the PDNA. Please take a moment to fill out the membership application. Your application will be received by the executive board and, based on your interests, we’ll respond to direct you to our committees.

    Cheers –

  2. Geoff Scowcroft

    Hi Patricia —

    I, for one, am excited about the prospect of new hotels in the Pearl. I think the retailers–particularly the restaurants–would be major beneficiaries of such development. Indirectly, we all would benefit. I saw mention in the DJC of a possible third hotel on/near 11th. Do you have any info on this? Thanks, Geoff P.S. As a recent retiree, I am interested in becoming involved with the PDNA.

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