Conceptual Design Review by the San Rafael Design Review Board is required for development subject to major environmental and design review. In addition, a preliminary application review process is available for projects that may propose potentially controversial development.  

Conceptual Design Review 

Conceptual Design Review involves a public meeting with the DRB. Conceptual Design Review is meant to provide an informal critique and evaluation of a project’s basic design approach.  It gives the DRB an opportunity to work together with the applicant to achieve a quality project.  The Board will identify relevant issues and significant concerns, and provide comments on the appropriateness of the conceptual design and its compliance with design review criteria and guidelines. 

A Design Review Board meeting date will be scheduled generally within 30 days of submittal.  The required development plans must be included in the submittal package.  An incomplete application cannot be taken to the Board.  Additional materials and fees will be required for a formal submittal application.


The Pre-Application process involves in-house departmental staff review only.  This process is meant to review technical feasibility and to pinpoint major issues that may arise within the purview of relevant City agencies.  Pre-Applications are reviewed and processed by the Community Development Department.  Comments and feedback from various departments are collected and provided to the applicant, generally within 30 days of submittal. 

A meeting with a planner to review submittal requirements and critical design issues is highly encouraged for both the Pre-Application and Conceptual Design Review processes. Once an application is submitted, a planner will be assigned to the project to make sure the application is complete and to coordinate with other City Departments.  Neither a PreApplication nor a Conceptual Design Review result in an action, approval, grant of use or entitlement by the City.  These applications are intended to provide a process for early, non-binding comments only.  Our goal is to advise the applicant on any potential issues and/or studies needed for formal review. 

The following minimum information and to-scale drawings must be included with the submittal package for an application for Pre-Application or Conceptual Design Review: 

  • General Application Form  
  • Project Description or Narrative Statement
  • Development Plans [Six (6) sets for Pre-app & Ten (10) sets for Conceptual Review]
  • Colors & Materials Exhibit (if applicable)
  • Site Photos (if applicable)
  • Filing Fee(s) $______ 
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