In order to maintain the unique architectural style and history of Kalamazoo's downtown, guidelines have been established to shape new construction, rehabilitation, and other changes in the downtown area. These Downtown Design Review Standards and Guidelines are intended to function as a tool for architects, developers, and property owners planning building projects within the downtown area. The city of Kalamazoo encourages creativity and inventiveness in building redevelopment, new construction, and in the preservation of key architectural features that help define our downtown.
The Downtown Design Review Standards are created and applied by Kalamazoo's Downtown Design Review Committee (DDRC). DDRC membership includes city staff, staff from Downtown Kalamazoo Inc., downtown residents, and downtown business owners. All projects in the Downtown Design Review District must be reviewed by the DDRC for compliance with these guidelines.
Standards & Guidelines
The pdf Downtown Design Review Guidelines (3.54 MB) are available as a single document or in individual sections below.
pdf New Construction Standards & Guidelines (1.27 MB) - These standards apply to an entirely new structure on a vacant site. This type of project will also require a site plan review. Signs, canopies, awnings, paving and street furniture as needed for the new building are covered separately in the pdf Streetscape Standards & Guidelines (1.21 MB) . Applications for new construction projects are available pdf here (48 KB) .
pdf Existing Buildings Standards & Guidelines (1.18 MB) - These standards apply to an addition, rehabilitation, or restoration of an existing building. This section also covers information on the Haymarket Historic District and other designated historic sites in the downtown including a comprehensive list of designated historic buildings by street address. Signs, canopies, awnings and street furniture as needed for the new building are covered separately in the pdf Streetscape Standards & Guidelines (1.21 MB) . Applications for existing building projects are available pdf here (47 KB) .
pdf Streetscape Standards & Guidelines (1.21 MB) - These standards apply to non-structural streetscape elements for a new or existing building. Signs, awnings, canopies, street furniture, sidewalk cafes, streetscape planting, paving and light fixtures are all discussed. Sidewalk cafes, sidewalk signs, overhanging signs, street furniture, awnings and canopies may also require an encroachment agreement from the city for the private use of the public right of way. Applications for streetscape are available pdf here (46 KB) .
There are two tiers of review for downtown projects. Which type of review a project is subject two depends on the type and scope of the work to be completed.
Tier I Administrative Review
City of Kalamazoo and Downtown Development Authority (DDA) staff review plans and details with applicant and approve, approve with conditions, or refer the project as proposed to the DDRC at a weekly meeting for review.
- Applicant (owner, architect, sign fabricator) submits an application, including design-related project criteria, plans and drawings to the Downtown Design Review Coordinator.
- Downtown Design Review Coordinator and DDA staff review, and refer project to additional City of Kalamazoo staff as appropriate (for example, historic district, planning, zoning or permitting staff).
- City of Kalamazoo staff will approve the project as presented, approve the project with conditions, or deny project as proposed.
- Approved projects are cleared to submit sign, historic district and building permit applications as needed.
Tier II Downtown Design Review Committee Review
City of Kalamazoo and DDA staff review plans with the applicant and prepare recommendations for DDRC review. At their regularly scheduled weekly meeting (Tuesdays at 9 a.m.), the DDRC reviews the project and either approves, approves with conditions, or denies the proposal and forwards their comments to site plan review team. Site plan review is required for projects which expand the size or use of an existing structure or for new construction projects)
- Proposal submitted for Site Plan Review—typically Site Plan Review does not require elevations of the building.
- Proposal submitted for Downtown Design Review Committee (and Historic District Commission* if applicable). Application should include drawings with elevations, exterior details on cladding and finishing materials
- City of Kalamazoo and DDA staff review design-related project criteria, and prepare recommendation for DDRC.
- Site Plan Review Team approves, approves with conditions, or denies project as proposed (if required).
Below is a complete list by street address of those properties included in the Downtown Design Review District. Some of areas are also in local historic districts and are subject to Historic District Commission review (indicated by an * below).
|N Burdick||to 459*|
|S Burdick||to 440 + 525|
|W Cedar||to 306|
|N Church||to 400|
|N Edwards||to 201|
|N Kalamazoo Mall||All|
|S Kalamazoo Mall||All|
|E Lovell||to 357|
|W Lovell||to 450|
|E Michigan||to 618*|
|W Michigan||to 729|
|W Michigan||odd numbers 739-763|
|N Park||to 436|
|S Park||to 347*|
|N Pitcher||to 201|
|S Pitcher||to 583|
|N Rose||to 459|
|S Rose||to 340|
|E South||to 431|
|W South||to 400|
|Saint Johns Place||All|
|W Walnut||even only to 125|
|N Westnedge||to 440|
|S Westnedge||to 343|
|E Willard||145, 167, 205, 261|