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What is Architectural Review?

Communities are shaped in many ways. The general plan, a city’s blueprint for development, guides overall building activities in our City. The San Ramon’s General Plan, identifies where land uses are located.

Architectural review regulates the design of structures and other elements on property. Most cities adopt architectural review guidelines as a tool to ensure that the architectural design of structures, their materials, and colors are visually harmonious with surrounding development and with the natural landforms and vegetation of the areas in which they are proposed to be located. Architectural review can also regulate the size, location and scale of buildings. The City’s standards reflect our community’s vision and attitudes for how the City should look. San Ramon’s Architectural review standards are found in Section D6-22 of the Zoning Ordinance.

Administrative Architectural Review

Minor residential or non-residential architectural improvements and modifications, as determined by the Zoning Administrator, may be reviewed in association with a Building Permit plan check review process.

To begin review, the project proponent shall submit a Building Permit application with the Building and Safety Services Division in accordance with the Building Permit Application Guidelines.

As part of this review, the planner will verify that the architectural style of any addition carries the same theme as the existing structure: Some items taken into consideration as part of this review include, but are not limited to;

  • Roofing materials and roof design, matching colors and finishes (e.g., stucco, siding, etc.),
  • Continuation of decorative features, windows and window mullions to match existing window design, use of window trim to match existing window design,
  • Addition of features that will break up the massing if the addition is large,
  • Siting of an addition to a structure (e.g., the location of the addition to its surroundings), and
  • Relationship to the existing structure
    • the location existing rooms (e.g., bedrooms, family rooms, etc…),
    • logical relationship to the home,
    • the topography of the site to minimize grading,
    • avoiding artificially raising the height of the home, and
    • the addition’s relationship to the existing neighbors

Architectural Review

New residential or non-residential construction, architectural improvements, or modifications that result in a major change/modification, as determined by the Zoning Administrator, may require approval of an Architectural Review Application. The Zoning Administrator may refer the Application to the Architectural Review Board (ARB) for a recommendation prior to a decision by the Zoning Administrator or Planning Commission.

To begin review, the project proponent shall submit an Architectural Review Application with the Planning Services Division.

Application Information

Please contact the Planning Services Division at (925) 973-2560 to speak with a planner about specific submittal requirements, Application fees, and review timelines for an Architectural Review Application. The application form and submittal requirements are provided below: