Design Review - Program

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Virtual Design Review Board Meetings

All Design Review Board meetings are held online. Please visit our Virtual Design Review Board meetings page for more information and how to comment.

What is Design Review?

Watch our What is Design Review video for an overview of the program objectives and the three paths of Administrative Design Review, Full Design Review, and Streamlined Design Review. 


Design Review LogoDesign Review Great Examples - Greenfire Campus is one example you'll find in our gallery

Design Review is one of the tools we use to create a better city. It gives everyone an opportunity to shape the design of many new multifamily and commercial buildings. It also offers flexibility with the Land Use Code requirements.

The Design Guidelines are tools that we use to review how new buildings fit into and relate to the surrounding neighborhoods, including things like:  

  • The overall appearance of the building 
  • How the proposal relates to adjacent sites and the overall street frontage 
  • How the proposal relates to unusual aspects of the site, like views or slopes 
  • Pedestrian and vehicular access to the site 
  • Quality of exterior building materials, open space, and landscaping

There are three types of Design Review. SDCI Design Review staff review many smaller buildings through Streamlined Design Review and Administrative Design Review. Larger buildings may require Full Design Review, which includes both public Design Review Board meetings and review by City staff. All Design Review includes an opportunity for public comment and involvement.  

Learn About & Get Involved With Design Review

Learn About Upcoming Reviews and Design Review 

Comment on a Proposed Design

The Design Review Boards and staff welcome public comment on project designs. Public comment helps the Design Review Boards and staff understand important design issues as they review the project.

  • Anyone may submit a public comment online. 
  • For projects reviewed by a Design Review Board, you may also comment at the Design Review Board meeting
  • Use the Design Guidelines to craft your comments before you submit them to us. The Design Review Boards and staff can only consider comments that relate to the Design Guidelines. 
  • Design Review focuses on design: the building’s size and shape, exterior building materials, proposed plants and trees, and other elements within the Design Guidelines. 
  • Design review can’t consider comments about things like housing affordability, displacement, permitted building height, density, parking, traffic, potential landslides, etc. The City of Seattle has other code requirements for those topics, but they are not part of Design Review. 

Apply to serve on a Design Review Board

Each year the City asks for volunteers to serve on the Design Review Boards.

  • The application period opens in November and runs through the end of December
  • The Mayor and City Council appoint Design Review Board members for 2-year terms 
  • Board members must live in the City of Seattle 
  • Design Review Board members should have knowledge of, or interest in, architecture, urban design, and the development process 
  • Board members spend approximately 15 hours a month attending and preparing for board meetings, held twice a month in the evenings 

For questions, please contact Erika Ikstrums,

Get Involved with a Neighborhood Group 

Neighborhood groups are community organizations that operate separately from City government. They may focus on many topics important to their neighborhoods, and often comment on proposed Design Review projects. To get involved: 

  • Contact your community council, chamber, or other local group and seek to join them on upcoming project reviews. To make your group more effective, find people who are passionate about design and inform others about upcoming project reviews.  
  • Participate in the development of new or updated neighborhood Design Guidelines. 

Construction and Inspections

Nathan Torgelson, Director
Address: 700 5th Ave, Suite 2000, Seattle, WA, 98104
Mailing Address: P.O. Box 34019, Seattle, WA, 98124-4019
Phone: (206) 684-8600
Phone Alt: Violation Complaint Line: (206) 615-0808
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SDCI issues land use, construction, and trade permits, conducts construction and housing-related inspections, ensures compliance with our codes, and regulates rental rules. SDCI is committed to an antiracist workplace and to addressing racism through our work in the community.