On July 26, 2019, Costco filed a Pre Application and Conceptual Design Review application with the City of San Rafael. For major projects, the City requires the submittal of a Conceptual Design Review as a first step to allow the public and the City’s Design Review Board an opportunity to provide early comments on a preliminary plan/concept. The requirement for Conceptual Review was initiated in 2005 as a means to allow both the public and the City early input on a project, before plans are fully developed. It is meant to allow an applicant to hear both public and City comments on a project before fully developing required plans and materials. As a Conceptual Review, plans are preliminary in nature and are not as fully developed as would be required for formal submittal. In addition, technical studies (i.e. reports on traffic, air quality, etc) required for formal submittal are not submitted during conceptual 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. No binding decisions are made as a result
Given the public interest in this project, the City has also suggested that the Planning Commission review the Conceptual Design Review application in order to weigh in on land use matters, (ie. noise, traffic, parking, appropriateness and compatibility) before the project is further developed
The Planning Commission meeting on the Conceptual application is scheduled for October 15, 2019. The Commission’s focus is on land use matters (ie traffic, noise, parking, land use compatibility).
The Design Review Board meeting on the Conceptual application is scheduled for October 22, 2019. The DRB’s purview is solely on design matters, so comments should be related to design, such as site plan, architecture, bulk and mass, colors and material, landscaping, etc. ion.