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Urban Design District
Planning

The Urban Design District oversees implementation of the Urban Design District Ordinance.

The ordinance aims to maintain as far as possible the existing historic, architectural and visual character of an area, while at the same time encouraging compatible, quality, new development.

The ordinance was approved by the City Council in December, 1996. Its primary intent is "to promote the health, safety, economic and general welfare of the public by encouraging the revitalization and enhancement of the urban environment." The ordinance aims to maintain as far as possible the existing historic, architectural and visual character of an area, while at the same time encouraging compatible, quality, new development.

To accomplish this stated intent, the Commission reviews applications for changes to property and structures in the Design District, including demolition, new construction, reconstruction, and remodeling of the exterior of structures. The Commission assesses the impact of the proposed changes against specific guidelines that are articulated in the ordinance to achieve the ordinance’s aforementioned intent, and recommends changes, and approves or denies the application accordingly. The ordinance requires the Commission to base its decision on these guidelines.

Architectural details of the Plaza Urban Design District

Approval of an application is provided in the form of an Urban Design Certificate of Approval (UDCA). The Commission is required to approve or deny complete applications within 30 working days of the City’s official receipt of an application, or the application is considered automatically approved.

Urban Design requires a separate design review and approval.

 

PROCESS FOR OBTAINING A BUILDING PERMIT FOR PROJECTS WITHIN A DESIGN DISTRICT

 

The milk bottle grocery is in the Asian design district.

The Commission meets monthly, and more often if needed.

Meetings of the Commission are subject to the Open Meetings Act and the Commission’s decisions may be appealed to the Board of Adjustment.

The Board may "affirm, reverse, or modify the decision of the Commission."

The ordinance also provides that "any application to the Board of Adjustment concerning property located within the Urban Design District shall be reviewed by the Urban Design Commission prior to final action by the Board." The Commission has the option of forwarding a non-binding recommendation to the Board concerning such applications.

Landscaping has improved the appearance of Northwest 23.

The Design District includes several commercial areas in the inner city and is established by overlay zoning.

When initially approved, the Design District only included north downtown; in the area approximately bounded by NW 4, NW 13, Classen Boulevard and Broadway Avenue.

The District has since been expanded to include several new districts, including NW 23rd Street between I-235 and Villa Avenue; the Plaza District, centered on 16th Street and Indiana and Blackwelder; the Asian District, centered on Classen between NW 23rd Street and NW 30th Street; and the Capitol Hill District, centered on Commerce Street between Shields Boulevard and Walker Avenue, and extending north and south along Robinson Avenue and Walker Avenue.

Meetings are subject to cancellation or rescheduling.

For questions on how these adopted changes may affect any work you may be contemplating to the exterior of your property, or for general questions, please call Michael Philbrick at (405) 297-2110 or email michael.philbrick@okc.gov.