Design Review

Design Review Meetings are conducted by the City’s Design Review Committee (DRC). The 5-member DRC is appointed by the Mayor, and meets on the 2nd Thursday of every month. The DRC members are chosen for their interest and expertise in neighborhood preservation.

Projects Subject to Design Review Process

New infill construction in DeKalb’s neighborhoods requires design review. Infill projects are new residential structures built on undeveloped lots or previously occupied lots (where an existing structure exists and would be demolished), within the City of DeKalb. The DRC uses the Design Guidelines and Checklist (PDF) to review proposals.

Additions and alterations to existing buildings are not subject to design review. However, it is suggested that the guidelines presented here also be used as a guide in the design of additions and alterations, since such projects also impact adjacent residences and the neighborhood streetscape.

Please note that all construction in DeKalb is also subject to City of DeKalb zoning and building regulations.

Design Review Considerations
The 5 categories of the design guidelines and checklist review process are:
  1. Architectural Detail
  2. Good Neighbor Policies
  3. Landmarks
  4. Site Development
  5. Streetscape Rhythm
Purpose of the Guidelines
The goal of the guidelines is to help infill projects become good neighbors by enhancing the unique character of the neighborhoods, the visual harmony of the streetscape, and the prevailing patterns of neighborhood houses.


The Design Review Process (PDF) explains all of the steps involved. Here is a summary:
  1. An initial review meeting with City staff takes place.
  2. A completed Design Review Application (PDF) and Design Guidelines and Checklist (PDF) and drawings according to current schedule are submitted.
  3. Planning staff review and and report to DRC.
  4. A design review and public meeting are held. An approval, approval with conditions, or a disapproval is determined.
  5. If approved, the staff will issue a Design Permit.
  6. A Building Permit must be submitted following design approval.
  7. If dissatisfied with DRC action, an application can be revised and resubmitted or an appeal may be made to City Council.