ARCHITECTURAL DESIGN STANDARDS & GUIDELINES
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The City of Agoura Hills is committed to excellence in architecture, planning and landscape architecture. Through these design guidelines, the City of Agoura Hills seeks to harmonize the design of the built environment. While specific architectural styles are not dictated by the City and creative design is encouraged, architects and landscape architects are expected to incorporate into their designs the following:

• Harmony with the natural landforms and native vegetation.

• Responsiveness to climate through proper building orientation, 
  appropriate glazing, use of overhangs, shading devices, pergolas, etc.

• Reflection of the highest standards in architectural design and style,
  proportions, colors and materials.

• Compatibility with the design and form of adjacent buildings and the
   neighborhood.

Architects, planners, landscape architects and developers are encouraged to display their design creativity within the Architectural Design Standards & Guidelines while remaining sensitive to the desires of the community as embodied in the General Plan, Zoning Ordinance and other applicable regulations.

 

About "A Guide to Architectural Review" Series 
The City of Agoura Hills presents "A Guide to Architectural Review" as a part of an ongoing series developed by the Planning Department. Hard copies of this guide are available from City Hall: 30001 Ladyface Court, Agoura Hills, CA 91301 or call (818) 597-7339. 

Purpose of Architectural Review 
Generally, all new and remodeled commercial projects, all new residential projects, and some residential remodels will require architectural review in connection with a planning permit such as a Conditional Use Permit (CUP) or Site Plan Review (SPR). The Community Design Element of the General Plan lists the City's design goals, and the City's Architectural Design Standards and Guidelines provide specific direction as to site design and building design. A review of these documents will help you understand our community's architectural design expectations. 

ARCHITECTURAL REVIEW PANEL

The ARP consists of the following:

  • Director of Planning
  • Project Case Planner
  • At least 1 Architect
  • At least 1 Landscape Architect

Others (as needed):

  • City Engineer
  • City Landscape & Oak Tree Consultant
  • City Building Inspector
  • Representative from the Fire Department
  • Representative from the Sheriff's Department

Architectural Review Process 
Architectural review is done as part of a planning permit such as a Conditional Use Permit or Site Plan Review. There is no separate application required to start the architectural review process. The project's case planner will review the plans and make recommendations to the ARP. The ARP will meet and review the project plans and the staff recommendation. The applicant and the project architect should plan to attend the ARP meeting to present the project's design. 

If a Home Owners Association is involved, representatives of the HOA will be invited to comment. The ARP will discuss its recommendations and attempt to reach a consensus with the applicant on any desired changes. The ARP's recommendations will be forwarded to the Planning Commission, which will consider them in making a decision on the required planning permits. 

Standards of Review 
Please see the Community Design Goals of the General Plan and the Architectural Design and Guidelines for a description of the City's architectural design goals and standards. If there is a HOA with adopted CC&R's or guidelines, these will be given strong consideration. The City Engineer, City Oak Tree Consultant, and the Fire and Sheriff's Departments will be contacted when appropriate and will review and comment on the project. 

The City's goal is to promote higher design quality, and for each project to be in harmony with its natural and manmade setting. Alteration of natural landforms and plant communities should be minimized; preservation of oak trees is given high priority. The City is not attempting to enforce one uniform architectural style. A project may be harmonious with existing buildings without repeating a single architectural style; a compatible diversity of styles is welcomed. The following are acceptable:

  • Designs which take advantage of rather than altering natural landforms
  • In larger projects, a unifying theme and a human scale of design
  • Designs that reinforce the City's semirural residential, low profile character
  • Earth toned, subdued colors
  • Textured, natural-appearing finishes
  • Landscaping that preserves native oak trees and uses native, drought-resistant plantings

Not acceptable are:

  • Massive grading
  • Boxy buildings with no recognizable architectural style 
  • Long blank walls
  • Standardized "national chain" designs
  • Reflective, shiny surfaces, except as accents
  • Bright or neon colors, except as accents

With your cooperation, we can preserve and enhance our community's distinctive character!

 

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