Design Standards Overview


Design standards shall be observed for building and site design within the City of Gig Harbor and are intended to encourage building design and site planning to:

  1. Compliment the existing character of specific neighborhoods or geographic areas of the city in which the proposed building or site improvements are located.
  2. Relate visually and physically to surrounding development.
  3. Promote pedestrian usage.
  4. Provide options that allow for diversity and creativity in project design.
  5. Facilitate a dialogue between project proponents and the City’s design review board in a public meeting setting.
  6. Increase public awareness of design issues and design options.
  7. Provide an objective basis for decisions which affect both individual projects and the City of Gig Harbor as a whole.
  8. Ensure that the intent of the goals and objectives contained within the City of Gig Harbor’s comprehensive plan are met.

Design Review Considerations

Design Review considers design within 3 broad areas:

  1. Neighborhood Context
    1. Addresses how projects relate to and connect with surrounding development. It requires that development design take consideration of, and be integrated with, both the existing streetscape and nearby parcels. It defines prominent parcels and transitions between zones, and places more rigorous requirements on projects located in these visually sensitive areas. Similarly, it identifies certain streets within the city as being visually distinct and places more rigorous standards on development along those streets.
  2. Site Design
    1. Addresses how projects relate to their own site. It requires that design consideration be given to topography, building location, walkways, parking, landscaping, open space and common areas. It encourages pedestrian access, outdoor activities, and preservation of significant vegetation and existing views.
  3. Architecture
    1. Addresses the more traditional aspects of design review such as selection of colors and materials, roofs, windows, lighting, and other architectural details. It also discusses the perceived mass and scale of a building, and footprint modulation. Separate standards are set for residential and nonresidential projects, and for development within the city’s historic district.