Apply for a Certificate of Appearance Approval

Applications for Major certificates of appearance approval are subject to review by the Appearance Review Board. Minor Certificates of Appearance are subject to review by the Appearance Review Official.

Online

Overview

Determine if you need a minor or major Certificate of Appearance Approval

The following types of cases are subject to Major certificates of appearance approval:

  • New streetscaping, including master streetscape plans
  • Signs equal to or greater than 30 square feet in area, including master sign plans proposing signs cumulatively equal to or greater than 30 square feet in area
  • New construction of principal structures, except as otherwise provided by this section
  • New construction of parks and plazas, and substantial improvements thereto
  • High-rise signs
  • Accessory structures equal to or greater than 120 square feet in area
  • Substantial improvements to existing buildings that include exterior work
  • Telecommunications equipment visible from the public right-of-way
  • Any work typically requiring a minor certificate of appearance approval if a major certificate of appearance approval is requested by the applicant or required by the Appearance Review Official
  • Any work typically requiring a minor certificate of appearance approval if the minor certificate application is denied by the Appearance Review Official or if the applicant objects to conditions of approval

The following types of cases are subject to Minor certificates of appearance approval:

  • Banners
  • Foundation skirting
  • Awnings and canopies
  • Landscaping for individual buildings
  • Outdoor cafés
  • Menu board signs
  • Signs of less than 30 square feet in area
  • Amendments to master sign plans
  • Structures and improvements approved as temporary uses
  • Accessory structures less than 120 square feet in area
  • Fences, walls, retaining walls, street walls and gates
  • Mechanical, heating, ventilating, air conditioning and irrigation equipment
  • Above-ground utilities
  • Alterations to existing streetscaping
  • Alterations to existing parks and plazas
  • Playground equipment
  • Exterior paint color, material and finish
  • Driveways, walkways, steps and paving
  • Exterior lights
  • Public and private art visible from the public right-of-way
  • Exterior cladding material, roofs, doors, windows and architectural detailing
  • Post-demolition condition of vacant land
  • All other work requiring a certificate of appearance approval and not otherwise determined to be work requiring a major certificate of design approval

Schedule a pre-application meeting

Applicant contacts city staff to schedule a pre-application meeting. The Appearance Review Board application will be distributed at this meeting.

Complete and submit your application

We'll review your request

City staff will review your application. Within five days of receiving the application we'll issues a written determination of completeness. If anything is missing from your application, we'll let you know.

Minor reviews will get a written decision

If you qualify for a minor review, we'll let you know if it was approved, approved with conditions or denied. You will receive this decision withing 15 days of the completeness determination. If it was approved, you will receive your Certificate of Appearance Approval withing 5 days of the written decision. You can then being filing for building permits. If you would like the request reviewed by the Appearance Review Board, you can file that request with the board within five days of the written determination.

We'll schedule your application for the Appearance Review Board

If you are applying for a major review or your would like the board to hear your minor review application, city staff will schedule your application for an upcoming Appearance Review Board meeting.

Post your public notice placard

You will be provided a public notice placard that must be placed on your property at least seven days prior to your scheduled Appearance Review Board meeting.

We'll issue a staff report

At least seven days prior to the Appearance Review Board Meeting, we'll post a staff report as part of the meeting agenda.

Application goes before the Appearance Review Board

The board will consider your application and forward a recommendation to the City Council.

Application goes before the City Council

If City Council grants approval or approval with conditions, Appearance Review Officer issues Certificate of Appearance Approval within five days of City Council action. Applicant may then apply for building permits (subject to any other approvals that may be required from Municipal Planning Board, Historic Preservation Board or Board of Zoning Adjustment). If City Council grants approval with conditions or denies application, applicant may file a quasi-judicial appeal or submit a revised application.