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Architectural Review Board (ARB) Application Review Process

Prior to submitting an application, the applicant is encouraged to meet with Staff for guidance on a project's design. Staff can also notify an applicant of any additional requirements that may be needed prior to submitting an ARB application.

1. Submit Application to the City of Palo Alto Development Center: Call 650-329-2441 to make an appointment with a planner to submit your application.  An appointment is required for submittal.  You may obtain an application form and submittal checklist on the City's website (see the link at the bottom of this page).

2. Staff Review: Staff will review for compliance with application requirements and City standards.

3. Notification: Staff will send a letter to the applicant, within 30 days from the date it was submitted, declaring the application complete or incomplete. At this time, if the Staff finds the application incomplete, they may ask for additional requirements for it to be deemed complete. If the project requires an Environmental Impact Assessment, the application will not be complete until the Assessment has been completed.

4. Staff Recommendations: Staff will review the project for consistency with the City of Palo Alto Municipal Code, Zoning Ordinance, Architectural Review Board Ordinance, and other regulations and guidelines. They will write a recommendation to the ARB based on their review of the project.

5. Architectural Review Board Meeting and Presentation: The project will not be given a meeting date until the application has been deemed complete. The applicant will present their project to the Board. The total time for presentations is five minutes for a minor project and ten minutes for a major project. The Board will ask any questions they have of the applicant, and allow the public to comment on the project. After public comment has been received, the board will close the public hearing and discuss the project. The Board will then make a motion on the project. The motion will be to approve the project, approve the project with conditions, continue the project to another ARB meeting, or deny the project.

6. ARB Recommendation: The Board makes a recommendation to the Director of Planning and Community Development based upon the approved motion from the meeting. Projects that are continued to another ARB meeting do not got to the Director until the Board recommends approval or denial.

7. Director's Decision: Typically the Director has three working days to approve or deny the project. If the Director disagrees with the Board's approval recommendation, the project will be sent back to the Board for further review, or it will be sent to the City Council.

8. Submit Project for Building Permit: If the Director approves the project, the applicant can apply for a building permit the day after the Director's decision.

( ARB Forms and Handouts )

Last Updated: March 16, 2007