Architectural Reviews are employed by many communities across the country in order to provide some continuity of design standards for the built environment. Historic districts particularly are able to benefit from Architectural and Design Reviews, which can ensure the protection of districts’ history and character. Review boards will generally look over proposals to exterior changes and additions to property and make a determination on their appropriateness. While these boards do mean property owners have lost some amount of freedom, they also have contributed to an enhanced sense of place, neighborhood revitalization, and economic benefits to communities.
Below you will find information regarding Review Boards in each participating community. This page is meant to be a guide, however, it is important to always check with your building department before foregoing application review!
Not needing approval from an Architectural Review Board, does not mean your project does not need a permit. For information on permits, please see Permit Information.
The city of Cleveland maintains both Design Review Districts and Landmark Districts. Design Review Districts review all new construction and exterior alterations to buildings and structures. Outside the district only new construction of retail, offices, institutions, and residential projects must go through the review process. The design review committee makes recommendations to the Planning Commission, which makes a final decision. Landmark Districts are districts which are subject to a separate design review through the Cleveland Landmarks Commission. Their decision overrules the Planning Commission review.
Click the links below for more information
For More Information about: Design Review Districts
For More Information about: Landmarks Commission
Bay Village’s Architectural Board of Review currently only applies to non-residential property.
For more information: Bay Village Building Department
Beachwood’s Architectural Board of Review reviews minor and major alterations and repairs, additions, and new construction.
For more information: Beachwood Architectural Board of Review
Bedford’s Building Commissioner reviews all residential properties proposing any structural changes. There is not a separate review board.
For more information: Bedford Building Department
Bratenahl’s Architectural Review Board reviews the exterior design of buildings to maintain appropriate standards of appearance.
For more information: Bratenahl Architectural Review Board
Chagrin Falls’ Architectural Review Board reviews any submission made for additions, exterior alterations, demolitions, and new construction, for both residential and commercial property, taking into account the historical and architectural nature of existing buildings and the compatibility of changes and new construction.
For more information: Chagrin Falls Architectural Review Board
Chardon does not have any review boards at this time for residential properties. All new buildings and exterior remodels will be reviewed by the City Architect to ensure compliance with town regulations. Historical design guidelines are only applied to non-residential properties.
For more information: Geauga County Building Department
Highland Heights’ Architectural Review Board reviews all applications for building permits, including alterations and additions, for one and two family residences.
For more information: Highland Heights Architectural Review Board
Highland Hills’ Architectural Review Board reviews applications for new and existing structures for exterior additions and alterations.
For more information: Highland Hills Building Department
Hudson’s Architectural and Historic Board of Review reviews applications for zoning certificates, and issues certificates of appropriateness to construct, alter, remove or demolish structures, buildings, or landmarks within any historic district.
For more information: Hudson Architectural and Historic Board of Review
Mayfield Village’s Architectural Review Board reviews plans for existing buildings or structures that involve relocation, alterations, improvements, repairs, or additions.
For more information: Mayfield Village Architectural Review Board
Moreland Hills’ City Architect reviews any property going through an exterior modification, such as an alteration or addition, and new construction. The Planning Commission reviews these comments and makes a determination on the project.
For more information: Moreland Hills Building Department
North Olmsted’s Zoning and Development Review reviews all new development, site improvements, building additions or alterations, or any other improvements to property, except that which is zoned for single or two family use. For the Heritage Home Program, only triplexes would be subject to review in North Olmsted.
If your home is in the Butternut Ridge Historic District, however, any proposed alteration, addition, or demolition will require review by the Landmarks Commission, who will issue a Certificate of Appropriateness.
For more information: North Olmsted Zoning and Development
Oakwood Village does have an Architectural Board of Review.
For more information: Oakwood Architectural Review Board
Orange Village’s Planning & Zoning/Architectural Review Board reviews new construction and remodeling.
For more information: Orange Planning and Zoning Department
The Architectural Board of Review (ABR) for Shaker Heights reviews plans for new buildings and for all exterior changes to existing buildings, including additions, window and door changes, auxiliary structures, decks, re-siding, and re-roofing.
If you are in a landmark district, you may also need approval by the Landmark Commission, which reviews all exterior changes proposed for individual landmark buildings, as well as those properties located in the Winslow Road and Shaker Square local landmark districts.
For more information: Shaker Heights Landmark Commission
For design guidelines
Woodmere’s Architectural Review Board generally does not review additions for single-family residential additions unless of unusual magnitude or conditions. However, additions for multi-family buildings does require review from the Architectural Review Board.
For more information: Woodmere Building Inspection
For specific project requirements