Design Review Program

Notice: PER accepts all Planning application types by email or in-person submittal. Please review our Application Forms for our online application submittal procedures. To make an appointment or drop-in during our walk-in hours please visit our appointment page.  If you have questions regarding documents required as part of your application submittal or need to verify the type of Design Review your project needs, please contact the Design Review Administrator, Dustin Littrell, at LittrellD@saccounty.gov.


In an effort to improve and coordinate building design in the unincorporated county, the Board of Supervisors appointed a Design Review Administrator, established the Design Review Advisory Committee (DRAC), and adopted the Countywide Design Guidelines. The guidelines were adopted instead of design standards to allow for greater flexibility to address the broad range of factors and circumstances to consider in creating good design. An exception to this is the Chapter 3 – Multifamily design standards, which were revised pursuant to Senate Bill (SB) 2 to create 'objective standards' in order to streamline the processing of multifamily housing projects. ​

See below for m​ore information on the Design Review Guidelines, Design Review Process, and Design Review submittal information.

Design Review Guidelines​

Develop​ment Code Design Guidelines​ (Amended September ​9, 2022) (30 MB) - The Countywide Design Guidelines are an implementing tool of the County's General Plan, applying to the whole unincorporated county.  There are separate sections for Single Family Dwellings (Section 2.0), Multi-family Dwellings (Section 3.0), Commercial (Section 4.0), Office, Business Park, Institutional, and Industrial Development (Section 5.0), Village Centers/Mixed-Use (Section 6.0), and New Communities (Section 7.0). Please note that if your project is within a Special Planning Area (SPA) there may be additional design guidelines that will apply to your project. See the Special Planning Areas, Neighborhood Preservation Areas & Specific Plans page for more information. ​ 

Design Review Process

Design Review Advisory Committee. Project applicants for qualifying projects should consult the appropriate set of guidelines/standards early in the planning process to avoid unnecessary expense and delay later in the process. Qualifying projects will be directed by Planning staff to consult with the Design Review Administrator (see contacts, Application Processing) who will review the project as proposed and make recommendations on how to modify it to meet the appropriate design guidelines/standards. The Design Review Advisory Committee will then review the project in detail and suggest changes, if necessary, or recommend approval of the project as reviewed.

Design Review Submittal Information

See the following for information for submitting projects to the Design Review Program.  

Nondiscretionary Design Review​

Discretionary Design Review​

Supplemental Application Forms for Various Project Types

In addition to a project application and all required exhibits, an applicant may be required to submit a completed supplemental application form (see Applicant Guides). The intent of the supplemental application form is to express how the project design directly responds to the Countywide Design Guidelines. Please reference the Countywide Design Guidelines (link above) while filling out the supplemental form that best matches the description of your project.  ​