To apply for a Design Review Permit, complete an application package and submit it to the Planning Division during counter hours. The application package should include:
- The General Application Form filled out and signed by both the property owner and applicant
- Site Plan* with setbacks clearly labeled
- Floor Plan*
- Lot Coverage Calculations*
*Provide existing and proposed states if applicable.
For a more complete list of application requirements see the General Zoning Application Requirements handout.
Design Criteria Resources
To find design criteria for your project, go to:
- The Specific Purpose for the Zoning District(s) you're located within and The Environmental and Design Review Chapter of the San Rafael Municipal Code
- City of San Rafael Design Guidelines
- Hillside Residential Guidelines Manual
- Canal Design Guidelines
- Community Design Element of the General Plan
- Neighborhood Element in the General Plan 2020
You may also view the City of San Rafael Zoning Ordinance, the General Plan 2020 and Design Guidelines at the City Clerk's Office, the Community Development Department and the Library.
Application Processing Time
The amount of time required for processing varies depending on project complexity, level of review, initial completeness, whether multiple zoning entitlements are required, complexity of environmental issues, as well as the volume of projects under review.
To help assure the review process runs as quickly as possible, it is recommended that the applicant meet with planning staff for an initial consultation, review plans with neighbors prior to submittal, provide accurate plans and timely re-submittals, and request prior conceptual review of larger projects.
The approximate schedule for processing your application is as follows:
- Staff Level- 4-6 weeks
- With Design Review Board meeting- 6-10 weeks
- Minor (Zoning Administrator)- 10-12 weeks
- With Design Review Board meeting- 14-18 weeks
- Major (Planning Commission)- 20-25 weeks
- With Environmental Review- 24-48 weeks
- City Council- 28-55 weeks
Approved projects typically are provided one-year to obtain permits and commence construction. Any subsequent changes to the approved project design including its details, colors and materials, or landscaping may require prior approval of a Design Review Permit amendment.
A Zoning Administrator or Administrative Project may be appealed to the Planning Commission. Planning Commission actions may be appealed to the City Council.