Design Review


To ensure new construction and remodeling in Piedmont is attractive, safe, and harmonious with its surroundings the City engages in a design review process. The intent of the process is to preserve the city's architectural heritage, aesthetic values, residential character and natural beauty.

Design review is the process for making sure your project meets the City’s planning and design standards. Many projects need design review before you can get a building permit.


There are several types of design review permits:

  • Director (DRD)
  • Expedited (DREX)
  • Planning Commission (DRPC)
  • Fence, wall, or site feature (DRFW)
  • Variance (VAR)
  • Sign (SIGN)
  • Conditional use (CUP)
  • Public facility


For a design review permit to be approved, the design of a project must conform to all 3 of the standards in City Code section 17.66.060:

  1. The proposed design is consistent with the City’s General Plan and Piedmont Design Guidelines.
  2. The Design has little or no effect on neighboring properties’ existing views, privacy, and access to direct and indirect light.
  3. The Proposed design does not adversely affect pedestrian or vehicular safety.


Many small improvements do not require a design review permit, such as:

  • Normal repairs and maintenance, as long as there’s not change in materials, design, and size
  • Interior remodeling, if the use and number of rooms allowed to be bedrooms don’t change
  • Fence, if it’s 6 feet or less including any retaining wall, and not located in a front set back (if there is a retaining wall it needs to be less than 30 inches in height)

Review the full list of projects exempt from design review.


When you apply online, you will need to upload documents based on the application type. Review these resources to learn about the documents you’ll need to prepare:

Approval expiration and extensions

After you get design review approval, you can get building permits. They need to be issued within 1 year of the design review approval. If you are not able to make that deadline, you can request an extension. If you don't get an extension, you need to apply for design review again.


How to apply

The City of Piedmont has a new online permitting system called eTRAKiT. You can now apply for and track your design review planning permit online. Paper and email applications for planning permits are no longer accepted.

Before you apply, we recommend you contact us to discuss your application. This will often lead to a faster turnaround time.

Apply for a design review planning permit

Get help