How to Know if You Need Design Review

All projects require Design Review. However, an applicant may choose to follow one of two design review options:                       

Administrative Approval                 

Design review for projects or portions of projects which conform to the specific requirements may be administratively approved by the City of Gig Harbor planning staff as described in Gig Harbor Municipal Code (GHMC) 17.98.050. This method provides for a reasonable degree of flexibility while minimizing review time.                                     

Design Review Board (DRB) Recommendation

The Design Review Board (DRB) option as described in GHMC 17.98.055 encourages a creative approach to design by providing a more flexible review standard than that which is allowed in the administrative approach. The DRB can recommend alternative design solutions to specific requirements if it finds that:                                      

  • An alternative design represents an equivalent or superior design solution to what would otherwise be  achieved by rigidly applying specific requirements.
  • The alternative design meets the intent of each general  requirement. To determine the general requirement’s intent, the DRB shall consider the specific requirements as appropriate examples of compliance. The staff or the DRB may request that the proposed  structures be demarcated with rods, netting and/or balloons to better review mass, scale and/or location. The DRB shall not consider or recommend approval of any deviation from dimensional or numeric standards stated within the text of any general requirements, or from minimum setback standards, maximum height standards or zone transition building size standards stated in specific requirements. Approval to deviate from these standards must be obtained through the variance process defined in Chapter 17.66 GHMC and not through the design review board process.