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Downtown Urban Design District

In recent years, parts of Downtown Fort Worth have been immensely successful in attracting people back to the central city to live, work, play, shop, and learn. This renaissance of Downtown is in part attributable to the authentic urban quality of these areas of Downtown.

This urban quality has been preserved in some buildings, streets, and corridors such as along Main Street in Sundance Square. It has also been recreated in other places such as Sundance East, and the Firestone and Hillside neighborhoods.

In December 2002, four sections of the Downtown Design Guidelines (updated November 2009) were adopted as standards by the City Council, and a Downtown Design Review Board was established to review development projects.

Draft Guidelines

An updated version of the Downtown Urban Design District Guidelines are available for review and comment.

These standards and guidelines are in draft format until adopted by the City Council. Comments and questions can be sent to Sevanne Steiner, 817-392-8012.

View the draft guidelines

The Downtown Design Review Board is charged with handling hearings and determinations of applications for certificates of appropriateness for a building permit for construction of a new structure, expansion or remodeling or other alterations of the first and/or second floor of an existing structure, signage, and construction of a surface parking lot. In addition they are charged with the duty and invested with authority of any proposed amendments to the Downtown Urban design Standards to the Zoning Commission and City Council.

District Map

Certificate of Appropriateness

Before applying for a building permit, you must acquire a Certificate of Appropriateness. Alterations to the exterior of every building within the Downtown Urban Design District must be reviewed by the Downtown Design Review Board. Such alterations include, but are not limited to:

  • Construction of a new structure;
  • Expansion of an existing structure;
  • Construction of a surface parking lot
  • The installation and alteration of permanent signs, banners, window signs, and temporary signs;
  • Installation or alteration of awnings or canopies
  • The installation or alteration of sidewalk areas, including the installation of trees, planters, and other items affecting the walkway area
  • Lighting fixtures

No Certificate of Appropriateness is required for ordinary repairs. In-kind replacement or repair is considered to be ordinary repair and maintenance is reviewed and approved by the Downtown Design Review Board Staff prior to issuance of the permits in order to determine whether a Certificate of Appropriateness is required.

Application and Review Process

The DDRB meets once a month. To have your case placed on the agenda, you must fill out an application form by the second Monday of the month. Once Staff has determined that your application is complete, your case will be placed on the next available DDRB agenda. If necessary, Staff will schedule a meeting with you to review the design and suggest any necessary modifications. Staff will then mail you a notice of the Hearing, an Agenda, and a copy of the applicable Staff report. If approved, Staff will mail you a decision letter and a copy of the Certificate of Appropriateness following the hearing.

Download an application

Helpful Hints

  • Meet the application deadline
  • Clearly determine the scope of the project
  • Talk with the DDRB staff early in the process
  • Make an appointment to ensure the staff has adequate time to assist you
  • Provide required information as soon as possible
  • Provide thorough documentation to staff when you turn in your application
  • Obtain any necessary permits
  • Contact DDRB staff immediately if plans change during construction

Applications for cases within the Downtown Urban Design District (DUDD) are reviewed by the Downtown Design Review Board and must be filed with the City of Fort Worth Planning and Development Department, located at City Hall, 1000 Throckmorton St., in the northwest corner of the building.

Contact

Sevanne Steiner, 817-392-8012

Contact

Customer Service: 
817-392-2222
Email Customer Service

Address:
City Hall, Lower Level
1000 Throckmorton St.
Fort Worth, TX 76102

Director:
Randle Harwood

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Accommodations & Accessibility

Accommodations are available for residents who have accessibility requirements. To learn more about accessibility accommodations available from the City of Fort Worth, visit the Accessibility page or request an accomodation due to disability.