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Can design committees affect my development project in Phoenix?


A developer often has a vision of his or her development project - what it will look like, where particular structures will be and what the overall design will be. Such a vision can be beneficial, providing a cohesive concept and plan for the development project. A developer in Phoenix will need to consider the requirements of the city's zoning ordinance before instituting his or her plan, however, and may wish to consider how the city's Design Standards Committee and Design Review Committee can affect how a real estate development project takes shape.

The Design Standards Committee is comprised of nine Phoenix residents with varying areas of expertise in the design field, including design professionals such as architects or planners, as well as one member of the city's Planning Commission. Much as the name suggests, the Design Standards Committee oversees the city's visual design standards. From making recommendations to the City Council on particular design guidelines and changes in design standards or procedures, to evaluation of how the overall design of the city is developing, this committee plays an important role in how Phoenix appears from a design perspective.

The role of the Design Review Committee, which also consists of nine Phoenix residents, differs from the Standards Committee in that it can evaluate and approve potential design alternatives. In the event an applicant disagrees with a zoning decision made by the Planning and Development Department regarding a particular design guideline and appeals such a decision, the Design Review Committee will hear this appeal. The committee will assess the decision in light of its interpretation of the city's design guidelines and architectural standards, and make a determination on the appeal.

A developer in the midst of a redevelopment project may be wise to consider the role that these committees might play in shaping the project. Whether a developer is curious about the standards already in place, or is considering an appeal from a decision of the Planning and Development Department, Phoenix's design committees may play a significant role in how a project proceeds.

Source: phoenix.gov, "Design Standards Committee," accessed June 12, 2015

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