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

For: Maps of Design Review Districts and Landmarks Districts

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.
ARB Procedures
Design Guidelines
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

Cleveland Heights’ Architectural Board of Review reviews construction for historically significant houses.
ABR Policy and Procedures
ABR Application
For more information: Cleveland Heights Architectural Board of Review

Euclid’s Architectural Review Board reviews any new construction and major remodeling work that affects the exterior appearance of a structure.
ARB Application
For more information: Euclid Architectural Review Board

Gates’ Mills Architectural Board of Review reviews construction projects. All construction within the Historic District must be reviewed by the Historic District Sub-committee, as well.
Plan Approval Process
For more information: Gates Mills Building Department

Glenwillow’s Architectural Review Board reviews both residential and commercial work.
ARB Application
For more information: Glenwillow 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

Lyndhurst’s Architectural Review Board reviews additions and alterations of 1, 2, and 3 family residences.
ARB Application
For more information: Lyndhurst Building Department

Mayfield Heights’ Architectural Review Board reviews additions and alterations which change the exterior appearance of any building or structure.
ABR Residential Informational Packet
ABR Application
For more information: Mayfield Heights Architectural 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

Pepper Pike employs an Architectural Review Board to avoid excessive dissimilarity, excessive similarity, or inappropriate designs. Structures, fences, and additions will all be reviewed.
For more information: Pepper Pike Architectural Review Board
Submission Requirements

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.

For more information: Shaker Heights Architectural Board of Review
Shaker Heights ABR Learn More
For  design guidelines

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