The Mount Rainier Design Review Board (DRB) advises the City Council on design-related issues including but not limited to, fences, retaining walls, public plantings, construction proposals, building alterations, and regulations of design issues and zoning. Members of the DRB consist of five City residents who are appointed by council with at least one member being an architect. The board meets monthly in the evening but only if there are issues to discuss.
When a zoning variance is required, the DRB meets with the property owner and/or architect to discuss the project. The DRB provides advice to the City Council which usually meets with the owner and/or architect at a work session. The City Council votes as to whether support the variance or not, and provides that feedback to the county Board of Zoning Appeals.
The DRB and the City Council consider the following criteria when evaluating a project:
The project, and the requested variance, special exception, or other departure from regulations:
- Will not adversely affect the public health, safety, welfare or interest, or the reasonable use of adjoining properties;
- Can be granted without substantial impairment of the purpose and intent of the City building regulations and revitalization efforts;
- Will respect the historic integrity of the street facing façade (e.g., enclosure of open porches on the street facing facade is not acceptable; architecture is similar to other homes; height and massing is compatible with other nearby homes);
- Will not unduly impede the enforcement of any other applicable law;
- If on a property that is a contributing resource to the Mount Rainier National Register Historic District, the project should comply with the Secretary of the Interior's Standards for Rehabilitation (these standards are set forth below for informational purposes only); and
- If in a residential neighborhood, the project will not exceed the parking capacity of the street or create an unreasonable increase in traffic to the block.
For further details, see Chapter 4 of the City Code.