Architectural Review Board Approvals

The architectural review process assures that Building Design, Signage, Landscaping, or other developments contribute to the preservation of Santa Monica's reputation as a place of beauty, spaciousness and quality.

Architectural Review Board (ARB) approval is required for new construction, additions or remodel of an existing building, in all zones except R1. The Board has discretionary review over structures, major contour grading, landscaping, parking lots, mechanical equipment screening, and signs within the City of Santa Monica. Final approval of the Board must be obtained by the applicant prior to issuance of a building permit. Some applications may be eligible for staff approval.

The applicant, representative or legal owner familiar with the project must be present at the Architectural Review Board meeting.

Staff Approvals

Some applications may be eligible for staff approval if the fall into the following categories:

Building Design

  • Matching existing colors and materials and not visible from public right-of-way
  • Additions designed to match existing design and proportions and less than 500 sqft
  • Rooftop screening in keeping with existing structure
  • Mechanical equipment requiring a building permit but screened from public view
  • Replacement of existing materials with those of comparable quality, texture and craftsmanship for structures not subject to Landmarks review
  • Change of surface materials consistent with design not more than 25% of the facade
  • New window frames of high quality and consistent with existing design
  • New door frames of high quality and consistent with existing design
  • New windows of high quality and consistent with existing design New doors of high quality and consistent with existing design
  • New awnings without signage of high quality and consistent with existing design and any existing awnings, and are opaque canvas and not backlit
  • Freestanding walls consistent with existing architecture and do not obscure significant features from view
  • Addition to freestanding walls consistent with existing architecture and do not obscure significant features from view

Signage

  • Sign plans conforming to an approved (ARB or PC) sign program
  • Sign plans to change sign face only and not sign frame, location or illumination
  • Channel letter signage with no visible raceway, a cap height not over 18”, centered over the entrance symmetrically, consistent with building design and other signage on the building
  • Painted signs less than 25 sqft with letters no more than 18” in height, consistent with building design and other signage on the building
  • Minor modifications of colors, fonts, lighting, and size to existing sign programs
  • Window signage not exceeding 20% of window total, less than 12" letters, does not obstruct pedestrian-level views and consistent with design and other signage
  • Awning signage not backlit, less than 25 sqft with cap letters no over 10

Landscaping

  • Less than 150 sqft landscaping area that conforms to xeriscape standards
  • Single family homes not in R1 conforming to xeriscape standards

Applications & Forms