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A. New developments and modifications to existing permitted development shall comply with the approval process outlined in Chapter 20.270 VMC, Site Plan Review, and VMC 20.790.530, Planned Action Review.

B. New development and modifications to existing permitted development shall also comply with design review approval criteria for the HX district established in subsection D of this section unless exempted. The following activities shall be administratively exempt from design review:

1. Exterior work not visible from the public way or public areas such as parks and other publicly accessible spaces;

2. Placement of permanent signs, unless (a) inconsistent with adopted design guidelines, such as pole signs; or (b) potentially inconsistent with nearby uses;

3. Public art; and

4. Other minor construction such as replacement of doors, windows, awnings, etc., determined by the planning official to be exempt.

C. Site plan approval criteria. The site plan shall be approved, approved with conditions or denied upon finding that:

1. The proposed development implements The Heights District Plan and the requirements of this chapter;

2. The proposed development is consistent with The Heights District Plan vision, goals, and policies, as applicable;

3. The development is consistent with The Heights District Urban Design Guidelines or proposed standards that will achieve at least equal quality site development;

4. All new development is consistent with the conceptual street and open space layout as illustrated in The Heights District Subarea Plan and Urban Design Guidelines.

D. Design review approval criteria. The planning official shall base all reviews of the design of any proposed construction, remodeling or development according to the following criteria:

1. The requirements, guidelines, and applicable provisions of this title that are applicable to the zoning district where the property is located and including all additional zoning regulations which may apply to the use or to its area by provision for overlay district, or made applicable by any conditional use or variance approval;

2. The Heights Urban Design Guidelines kept on file and available for public inspection at the community development department;

3. The relationship found to exist between existing structures and open space, and between existing structures and other structures in the vicinity, and the expected effect of the proposed construction upon such relationships;

4. The impact of the proposed construction on adjacent uses, including impact of new or revised parking and pedestrian uses;

5. The protection of neighboring uses from identifiable adverse effects of the design of the proposed construction; and

6. The proposed development is consistent with The Heights District Plan vision, goals, and policies, as applicable. (Ord. M-4402 § 3(R), 2023; Ord. M-4341 § 3 (Exh. A), 2021)