At this time, the Government buildings are closed to the public in response to COVID-19 and the Governor’s order. Until further notice, we are not accepting in-person applications and payments. All application materials can either be mailed to the Division of Planning or delivered to the Security desk at:
Division of Planning
101 E. Vine St., Suite 700
Lexington, KY 40507
Please call the Division of Planning at (859) 258-3160 if you have any questions.
The Courthouse Area Design Review Board (CADRB) reviews and approves development projects within the CADRB boundary. The board reviews many aspects of a building and its site, including:
- The overall appearance of the building;
- How the proposal relates to adjacent sites and the overall street frontage;
- Pedestrian and vehicular access to the site; and
- Quality of materials, open space and landscaping.
If your property is within the CADRB boundary, an authorization permit is required for:
- Construction of a new structure;
- Expansion of an existing structure;
- Exterior changes to existing buildings;
- Paint a structure / material not previously painted; or remove paint from previously painted;
- Construction of parking lot or plaza;
- The installation or alteration of sidewalk or furnishing zone, including the installation of trees, planters, etc.;
- Removing trees with trunks more than 10" in diameter;
- Light fixtures;
No authorization permit is required for ordinary maintenance and repairs to existing features of a building or the replacement of elements with identical pieces, as long as the work does not change the exterior appearance of the building.
If your property is within the CADRB boundary, you will need to follow the below steps to get an authorization permit before securing a building permit:
- Determine if your property is within the CADRB district.
- Ensure your proposal follows the Courthouse Area Design Guidelines.
- Schedule a pre-application meeting with the design review officer (optional).
- At this pre-application meeting, the design review officer will determine if an authorization permit is required, if it may be staff approved or if the application must go before the board for approval.
- The design review officer will go over the design review process and your project questions. Please bring as much information regarding your project as possible to ensure the best guidance can be given to prepare you for the review process.
- Review CADRB meeting schedule.
- Submit an application form and the required materials by the indicated filing date to have your case placed on the agenda. Notification letters will be sent to property owners within a 200’ radius of the project’s property to inform them of the upcoming CADRB public meeting for project review.
- Schedule a meeting on-site with design review officer.
- Attend the CADRB meeting where the board will publicly review and discuss the project proposal. The board may approve, deny, postpone and/or need more information.
- Following CADRB review and approval, you will receive a final letter from the design review officer. This may be presented to Building Inspection to verify your authorization permit has been received.
- Other permits may be required before beginning construction – visit Building Inspection for permitting information.
Meeting dates & application deadlines
Meetings are held quarterly at 2 p.m. in the Council Chamber of the Government Center, 200 East Main Street.
The 2021 meeting dates are as follows:
- February 17 - Filing deadline Jan. 27, 2021
- May 19 - Filing deadline April 28, 2021
- August 18 - Filing deadline July 28, 2021
- December 1 - Filing deadline Nov. 10, 2021
File sufficient information to accurately depict the location, design, and scope of the work to be done. Drawings and photographs with site context are preferred. The staff will review the information and notify you if the material is not adequate for review and advise what specific information will be required. Submit the following to the design review officer by the application deadline listed above:
- A completed Courthouse Area Design Review Board application
- Digital images or photographs of the existing building and/or site.
- Construction details of new architectural or site modifications.
- Site drawings indicating any modifications to the site, drawn to scale and clearly labeled.
- Architectural elevations of exterior building modifications, drawn to scale and clearly labeled.
- Brief written summary of the work to be completed.
- Other useful information that articulates the design intent of your project. These materials may include, but are not limited to, architectural plans, plot plans, landscaping plans, plans for off-street parking, or perspective drawings showing the proposed structure and existing structures that are within one hundred feet or are substantially related to it visually or by reason of function, traffic generation or other characteristics.
- Submittal materials examples
- Meet the application deadline.
- Clearly determine the scope of the project.
- Talk with the design review officer early in the process and make an appointment to ensure they have adequate time to assist you.
- Provide required information as soon as possible.
- Provide thorough documentation to staff when you turn in your application.
- Get any necessary permits.
- Contact the design review officer immediately if plans change during construction.