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In order to protect property values and enhance the character and visual image of Cleveland's neighborhoods and downtown, certain proposals for construction, exterior alterations, building demolitions and signs in the City of Cleveland must undergo a process known as 'design review'.

Within designated Design Review Districts, all new construction and exterior alterations to buildings and structures are subject to design review.  Outside of these designated Design Review Districts, the design review process applies only to new construction (not renovation) of retail, offices, institutions and residential projects.

In order to administer the design review process, the City has been divided into seven regions.  A design review advisory committee, made up of design professionals and representatives of the local community, has been established for each of the seven regions.  These committees review the design of development proposals and make recommendations for approval or disapproval to the City Planning Commission, which takes final action on approval or disapproval of the design.  Building Permits for projects subject to design review require the signature of the Director of City Planning in order to be issued.  In areas designated as Landmark Districts, a separate design review process is administered by the Cleveland Landmarks Commission which takes precedence over the Planning Commission’s design review process.

Staff of the City Planning Commission sets the agenda for meetings of each design review advisory committee and works with local community development corporations to prepare applicants for the meetings.  Each committee has a standing schedule of meeting dates for review of proposed projects.

For more information on the design review process, submittal requirements, the guidelines used for review, the districts and regions, the committees and their meetings, please follow the links below:


Residential Design Guidelines (PDF)


PetBOT (Planning, Engineering, Traffic Engineering, and Bureau of Traffic)


Design Guidelines (PDF)

Design Review Ordinance  

Rules of the City Planning Commission

Application Form    PDF File

Applicants Guide    PDF File

Submittals Checklist PDF File

Meetings Schedule/Agenda

Design Review Cases Database

Design Review Committee Page Links