City of Red Bluff Seal
Planning Department - Regulations
Design Review Guidelines - Vol. 2 Historic


  10. SIGNS
  19. PLANS


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The City of Red Bluff has a unique small-town charm. Many of its wide tree-shaded streets are lined by attractive homes of Victorian-era architecture. The downtown has many attractive two-story brick buildings of traditional nineteenth century architecture. The historic neighborhoods are an integral part of the City's character and economy .

Recognizing the need for action to improve and strengthen the economy of the downtown area, the City initiated the preparation of a Downtown Revitalization Plan (DRP). The plan was accepted by the City Council on November 16, 1999. Included among the many recommendations within the DRP was the preparation of specific "Design Guidelines" for the "Historic Commercial Core" and "Residentially Influenced areas" (DRP pg. 51), and adoption of "Unified Design Theme & Streetscape Improvements" (DRP pg. 45). The DRP also acknowledged the benefits afforded by the creation of historic zoning districts (DRP pg. 51).

In June of 2000, the City Council adopted Ordinance 915. The ordinance was a re-write of the City Zoning Ordinance. It included two new zoning districts intended to preserve and enhance those unique historic neighborhoods; the "Historic Commercial" and "Historic Residential" zoning districts.

On September 5, 2000, the City Council adopted Resolution No. 37-2000. The resolution amended several "Objective" statements of the "Central Business Development" Goal (Goal V, LU Element pg. 9) to address development and redevelopment in the downtown area. These amendments mirror recommendations in the DRP and legislatively confirm the City's interest in improving the appearance and economic conditions in the downtown area.

In the interest of creating a model for streetscape improvements that could be accomplished throughout the Historic Commercial district, the City Council commissioned the preparation of a Downtown Demonstration Project. A four block section of Washington Street (500-800 Block) and the 300 and 400 blocks of Pine Street was selected to serve as the template. The final plan was accepted by the City Council on (insert date).

The intent of these guidelines is to influence design in order to protect, preserve, enhance and improve the unique architectural character of the historic commercial and residential neighborhoods of the Historic Commercial (H-C) and Historic Residential (H-R) zoning districts. Additionally, these guidelines are intended to enrich the pedestrian experience by creating an attractive "sense of place" downtown through streetscape enhancement and improvements such as landscaping, decorative pavement treatment, street trees, uniform street furniture and decorative streetlights.

Adjacent to the H-C and H-R zoning districts are several properties developed or used for public purposes such as government offices, emergency services stations, public parking lots, transit facilities, etc., that are zoned "P-A"; Public Agency. Excluding those areas could result in development that conflicts with the intent of these guidelines. Therefore these Historic Design Review Guidelines are applicable to the Historic Commercial (H-C), Historic Residential (H-R) zoning districts and to the "Public Agency" (P-A) zoning district properties that immediately adjoin the H-C or H-R zoning districts.

Early History of Red Bluff.

The earliest inhabitants of the Red Bluff area were members of the Wintun Maidu people who lived in the Northern Sacramento Valley. Most inhabitation sites were transitory because the Maidu were hunters and gatherers who moved from place to place as game and plant materials were available.

The earliest non-native settlers to appear in the area included Peter Lassen and William B. Ide. Lassen's name would later be given to a county, national park, and a mountain. Mr. Lassen first arrived in the area in 1843. He subsequently sought and received a Mexican land grant totaling 25,000 acres for property lying a few miles south of the current city. Lassen platted a townsite called Benton City (near present day Vina) in 1847. He then traveled to Missouri to induce settlers to head west to his town.

Accompanied by a party of settlers, Lassen arrived in Benton City in the summer of 1849, just in time for the first reports of gold in the Sierra Foothills to the south and Shasta and Trinity County to the northwest. Many gave up their plans to settle, choosing instead to pursue the riches of the goldfields. Consequently, the plans for settlement of Benton City died.

Ide constructed an adobe house about two miles northeast of the current city. His adobe is now a State Park. Mr. Ide participated in the "Bear Flag Revolt" against Mexican Rule in 1846. In fact, on June 10, 1846 Ide became the first and only "President" of the California Republic. That role was short-lived however, California became a United States possession in early July of 1846.

The City became of commercial importance due to its location as the head of navigation on the Sacramento River. In 1850 steamers commenced regular trips between San Francisco and Red Bluff. From Red Bluff, passengers and freight would be off-loaded for stagecoach and pack train delivery to points northward, including the Trinity mining communities. By 1854 there were 19 different steamships supplying the upper Sacramento River communities. The reliance on steamer transport lasted until about 1871 when the Central Pacific Railroad reached the City from the south and purchased the California Steam Navigation Company.

The earliest settler in what would become the City of Red Bluff was William Myers. In 1850 Mr. Myers built and operated the Red Bluff House, an inn for travelers near the present day location of Main and Crittenden Streets. However, the Red Bluff House was later destroyed by a great windstorm in 1864. Permanent settlement of the area began in 1852.

J. Granville Doll arrived in Red Bluff in 1855 from Shasta City. He became a prominent businessman, operating the Red Bluff Hotel and, along with Job Dye, operated the Sacramento River ferry at the foot of Pine Street. Doll acquired the Red Bluffs Land Corporation in 1856 that included the Red Bluff townsite property. However, squatters had occupied several properties. Doll attempted to eject those with whom he could not settle. The disputes clouded title for a number of years until resolved in 1868.

The community at large was originally referred to as "Red Bluffs", due to the color of the exposed bluffs on the west bank of the river. The settlements in the vicinity of Reeds Creek had a variety of names, including Reedsburgh, Cavertsburgh, Reedsville, Cavertsville, Bulltown, Red Cliff and Frogtown. By 1856 the "s" had been dropped and the town became "Red Bluff".

Business development first occurred near Reeds Creek, near the mooring and loading points of the steamers. In 1850, in addition to three import-export businesses, the town contained two boarding houses, two or three stores, one blacksmith/wagon shop, two corrals and one barbershop were operating. The businesses moved north, toward higher ground in 1855.

In April 1856, Tehama County was formed from parts of Colusa, Butte and Shasta Counties. Initially, the county seat was the City of Tehama. However, after a county-wide election, Red Bluff became the County seat in April of 1857.

Because transportation to and from San Francisco was readily available on the steamships, many Red Bluff residents were exposed to the impressive "Victorian" architecture of that city. Consequently, artisans, architects and builders were contracted to replicate that style in new Red Bluff homes. Lumber in abundance was available thanks to the nearby Sierra Lumber Company flume. The style was so popular that eventually common features such as gingerbread trim, which had previously been hand carved, began to be mass-produced by machine.

1876 was a milestone year for the town. In addition to being the nation's 100th birthday, Red Bluff became an incorporated city, a permanent bridge over the Sacramento River was completed and the Sierra Lumber Company began construction of a planing mill and box plant on the east bank of the Sacramento River. A short-line railroad spanned the Centennial bridge and connected the mill to the Central Pacific tracks. The mill operated for the remainder of the 19th century, but was beset by persistent seasonal flooding. In 1907 the company sold the mill to Diamond National Corporation which continued operations until 1911. Also during the 1870's, domestic water service commenced, gas lines were installed and a fire company was provided.

By 1880 many homes had been constructed and many businesses were operating in the City. The city had become less reliant on river commerce and had become an established agricultural and mercantile community. The first official Census in 1880 listed the City's population as 2,160. This number would increase to 2,750 at the turn of the century (1900 census).


"The First Fifty Years, a Pictorial Essay of Tehama County", 1993 by Mary Lee Grimes.

"Transportation moves from the river to the road", an article by Mary Lee Grimes appearing in the Red Bluff Daily News

"Tales of Tehama" printed January 31, 2001. "Red Bluff's roots lie in its Victorian past", an article by Ida Webster appearing in the Red Bluff Daily News "Tales of Tehama" printed January 31, 2001.

"The Controversy Over the County Seat"; an article by Gary Kelley appearing in the Red Bluff Daily News

"Tales of Tehama" printed January 27, 2000.

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The external boundaries shown on the City Zoning Map for the Historic Commercial (H-C), Historic Residential (H-R) and those Public Agency (P-A) districts that immediately adjoin the H-C or H-R districts shall hereafter be designated the "Red Bluff Historic District".

Upon approval of the Planning Commission, a Red Bluff Historic District logo may be selected. The approved logo may appear on entrance features and official signs, brochures and printed peripherals and advertisements. The logo should not appear on private advertising signage.


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The design review process is separate from other procedures that might be necessary for a project such as use permit, rezoning, variance, or building permit. It is a process to review project design elements including architecture, aesthetics, landscaping, site planning, and harmony with the surrounding neighborhood.

In the design review process, attention will be given to the aesthetics of a project as it might be judged by the passer-by, the neighbor, or the visitor to the project.

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Ordinance No. 658 (adopted in 1980) created a Design Review Commission (DRC) and authorized the adoption of Design Review Guidelines by resolution. By Ordinance No. 846; "Amending Certain Sections of Chapter Seven (Design Review) of the Red Bluff City Code" (adopted in 1992), the responsibilities were assigned to the Planning Commission, the Technical Advisory Committee, and staff. By Resolution No. 17-2001, the Planning Commission adopted these separate guidelines to preserve and enhance the visual character of the Historic Commercial and Historic Residential Districts. The responsibility for administering these separate guidelines in assigned as follows:

The Community Development Department:


  1. Evaluates projects for compliance with these Guidelines.
  2. Makes recommendations for plan revisions to comply with these Guidelines.
  3. Approves or conditionally approves projects that demonstrate compliance with these guidelines.
  4. Denies projects that do not conform to these Guidelines.
  5. Evaluates requests for exemption to these Guidelines pursuant to subsections E.3 through E.5.
  6. Considers, and approves or denies alternative design standards for projects affecting "unique" buildings pursuant to subsection D.5 below.

The Planning Commission:


  1. Develops and updates design guidelines and regulations to be used by persons planning a construction project.
  2. Reviews specific projects at the request of the City Council, City Commissions, the Technical Advisory Committee, the developer or property owner.
  3. Provides interpretations of the Design Review Guidelines.
  4. Hears appeals to decisions made by the Community Development Department.
  5. Acts on projects forwarded by the Community Development Department.

The City Council:


  1. Hears appeals to decisions made by the Planning Commission.


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  1. As described below, all projects within the Red Bluff Historic District, which require a building, sign, demolition or grading permit from the Community Development Department must conform to these Guidelines.
  2. Review by the Community Development Department is required for all projects which require a building, sign, demolition or grading Permit from the City, except those listed in subsection E.3. Review is required to determine whether they conform to these Design Review Guidelines.
  3. Unless specifically required by the Community Development Department, Planning Commission or City Council, design review is not required for the following projects:
    1. Reroofing, when no part of the roof is within the public view.
    2. Interior alterations and construction except as provided in Subsection E.6.
  4. Additions to structures: All additions shall comply with these guidelines. Also, If the total construction value of the addition exceeds $100,000, (as determined pursuant to Resolution No. 22-1989) façade improvements and street frontage improvements to comply with these guidelines shall be completed for the entire building. The façade and street frontage improvements shall be required only when the project affects a building that does not otherwise comply with these guidelines. The $100,000 valuation threshold shall be annually updated equivalent to the value of the Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U) published by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

    Undue hardship for minor additions to structures: If the total construction value of the building addition (in combination with the value any other additions completed within the most recent 36 month period) is less than $100,000, (as determined pursuant to Resolution No. 22-1989) an amount up to an additional 10% of the total construction value shall be expended for façade improvements to the building and for street frontage improvements. Priority for such improvements shall be: 1) The building front; 2) The adjacent street side of the building if the building occupies a corner lot or is visible from another street; 3) Street frontage improvements, 4) Signage replacement; 5). The rear side of the building.

    The $100,000 valuation threshold shall be annually updated equivalent to the value of the Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U) published by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The façade and street tree improvements shall be required only when the project affects a property that does not fully comply with these guidelines.

  5. Exemptions for additions to "Unique buildings". The Community Development Director may exempt certain building addition or improvement projects from compliance with specific portions of these guidelines upon finding that the building is a unique example of non-target period architecture. In the case of such exemption, alternative design features and standards consistent with the original building design period may be allowed.
  6. Major interior alterations: Interior alterations are not subject to compliance with these guidelines. However, if the total construction value of the interior remodel (in combination with the value of any other interior alterations completed in the most recent 36 month period) is in excess of $100,000 (as determined pursuant to Resolution No. 22-1989), an amount up to an additional 10% of the total construction value shall be expended for façade improvements to the building and street frontage improvements. The $100,000 valuation threshold shall be annually updated equivalent to the value of the Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U) published by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. These façade and street frontage improvements shall be required only when the project affects a building that does not comply with these guidelines.


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The objectives of these guidelines are:

  1. To encourage orderly and period-consistent development and redevelopment of the Red Bluff Historic District.
  2. To create a pedestrian accessible "sense of place" that attracts residents and tourists to visit, shop, work, dine and reside.

    Originally developed between 1870 and 1950, the historic district forms a unique and integral part of the City. New construction, exterior remodels and signage shall appear to date from the target period (1870-1950). In order to accomplish objectives A and B above, the following principles shall apply:

Principle 1; Historic Commercial and adjacent Public Agency zoned portions of the Historic District. Except as provided in Section E.5 or otherwise exempted in these guidelines, new construction, exterior remodels and signage affecting properties within the Historic Commercial zoning district or within an adjacent Public Agency zoning district shall appear to date from the target period (1870-1920). See Exhibit "A" for examples of architectural features of that era.

Principle 2; Historic Residential zoned portions of the Historic District. Development of the adjacent housing occurred over a more prolonged period. Consequently, there are notable examples of several residential architectural eras and styles. Within the Historic Residential zoning district, except as provided in Section E.5 or otherwise exempted in these guidelines, new construction, exterior remodels and signage shall appear to date from the target period (1870-1950). Careful attention to consistency with the particular era and style of original construction should be assured. See Exhibit "B" for examples of various architectural styles and features of that era.

Principle 3; Streetscape improvements. Streetscape improvements throughout the Historic Commercial and Public Agency zoned portions of the Historic District shall be consistent with and utilize features from the approved Downtown Demonstration Project. Streetscape improvements in the Historic Residential zoned portion shall include street trees, landscaped planter strips with street trees and vintage streetlights (where appropriate). In accordance with the above objectives and principles, City staff or the Planning Commission will ask these questions about a project:

  1. Does the commercial project contribute to create a sense of place downtown that will attract shoppers, diners, and other visitors; or does the residential project fit in the neighborhood in which it is intended? What will the project be like to look at, to live in, to live next to, to work in, to shop in? Will it be pleasing to the community?
  2. Does the project suit Red Bluff and its proposed location?
  3. Does the project respect history? The City intends to assure continuance of the Historic District through protection and enhancement of buildings and neighborhoods that have historic value by virtue of architectural character, historic association or age. Projects should include design features consistent with Principles 1 & 2 above. See Exhibits "A" & "B" for examples of target period architectural features and styles.
  4. Will the project be a good neighbor? It should not impair the use, enjoyment, value or orderly and attractive development of neighboring public and private property. A project should be designed to minimize interference with the privacy, quiet and view of its neighbors. The design also should not address vehicle traffic problems at the expense of pedestrian safety or convenience.
  5. Does the project follow the basic principles of good design? Harmony, continuity, variety, proportion, simplicity and balance should prevail in all aspects of a project. Whether it's a multi-building project or a single sign, its different elements should be compatible. Variety should be used to create interest, not used just for the sake of difference. Monotony in form, detail and siting should be avoided. Elements should be in balance, and in proportion to one another and their environment. Design should be simple, not congested.
  6. Is the design sensitive to the pedestrian? Does the project contribute to creating a pedestrian friendly environment? Are shade, landscaping, and visually pleasing elements provided?
  7. Is the project "in-character" with adjacent historical development? Is the height, width and scale of the building comparable to other properties in the vicinity? Upon completion, will the project appear to blend-in or "fit" in the block and neighborhood?

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  1. Harmony: Different structures and parts of structures should go well together. The design should be compatible with the desirable developing character of the neighboring area. Design compatibility includes harmonious building style, form size, color and material.
  2. Materials, finishes, textures, colors. As provided in Principles 1 and 2 in Subsection "F" above, exterior treatment should be typical of the target period. See Exhibits "A" (Commercial) and "B" (Residential) for examples of architectural styles and features from that era. Commercial buildings (or additions) shall normally have brick, stone, or stucco facades, or any combination thereof. Residential buildings (or additions) shall normally be wood-sided (or alternative approved by the Community Development Director), but may include stone or brick wainscoting, details or veneers.
  3. Mechanical equipment and utilities: Mechanical and utility service equipment, including meter boxes should be designed as part of a structure and should be screened, or positioned out of the normal public view from the street.
  4. Trash cans/bins shall be stored behind visual barriers (or constructed in accordance with adopted City standards per Volume 1-Non-Historic Design Review Guidelines) and away from public sidewalks and entrances.

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  1. General Conditions:
    1. The project should be compatible with the desirable historic character of the surrounding area. Site uses should be planned so as not to conflict or produce an undesired effect on the adjacent properties.
    2. Exterior use spaces should be located and designed to minimize intrusion of noise, consider climatic conditions and maximize privacy.
    3. c. The designer should consider the view of the project from adjacent properties as well as the potential blocking of existing scenic vistas.
    4. d. For phased projects, an effort should be made to avoid the creation of unsightly conditions.
  2. Circulation:
    1. a. Residential projects should provide for a pleasing transition from the street to the project front with the effective use of landscaping to enhance and soften structures, walkways, drives and parking areas.
    2. b. Where possible, driveways and off-street parking areas shall be oriented to the alley. See subsection H.3 below.
  3. Parking Areas:

    For much of the target period, motor vehicles were not utilized. Residential properties occasionally included stables in the rear yard, adjacent to the alley. There was no need for driveways across the front yard. Sidewalks were better and safer places to walk when not interrupted by driveways and vehicle movements.

    In the commercial area, shoppers routinely walked from storefront to storefront which were efficiently placed at the back of the sidewalk. Canopies placed on the storefront and above the sidewalk provided relief from sun and rain.

    In keeping with the target period design, and when possible, parking should be accessed from the adjoining alley. For those properties not adjacent to an alley, the designer is encouraged to use innovative ideas to minimize the visual impact of parking areas. It is preferable that they be located to the side or to the rear of a project. Where driveway aprons affect the cross-slope of a sidewalk, the sidewalk should be re-aligned away from the street to minimize sidewalk grade interruption. Landscaping, walls, fences, or berms are encouraged to enhance the appearance and provide substantial shade to the parking area. When designing landscaping, safe driver sight distance shall be considered.

  4. Screening:
    1. Where possible, exterior trash container and recycling areas, storage areas, service yards, loading docks and ramps, and utility boxes should be in the rear yard adjacent to the alley. Otherwise these features should be screened from view in a manner that is compatible with the building site design.
    2. Screening should be provided for all mechanical and electrical equipment, including roof units, as an integral part of building design.
    3. Sources of noise, which are created by the proposed development, should be located or screened in a manner that will have a minimal impact on adjoining properties.
    4. Noise from adjacent properties should be minimized in the design of the proposed development by the appropriate placement of the site functions and the appropriate selection of building materials.
  5. Lighting:

    Exterior lighting, when used, should be of vintage design. Streetlights within street right of ways and parking areas and aisles, shall be the vintage streetlight standard approved by the City. Lighting fixtures should be durable and compatible with building design and landscaping.

  6. Drainage:

    On-site drainage should be designed to be as obscure as possible and still fulfill its necessary function. Roof downspouts shall not deposit runoff directly onto sidewalks.

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  1. Landscaping, if appropriate, must be included on all project sites. It should enhance the effect of buildings and pavement. The landscaping should be a combination of trees, shrubs, and ground cover that will blend with the project and with neighboring developments.
  2. Streetscape. Streetscape improvements in the Historic Commercial District shall generally be consistent with the City approved Downtown Demonstration Project.. In the Historic Residential District or where planter strips are appropriate, street trees and groundcover shall be planted in planter strips located between the sidewalk and the curb. The street tree species, tree well sizes, positions, and groundcovers shall be consistent with adopted City standards.
  3. When possible, existing healthy vegetation and natural ground formations should be incorporated into the landscaping plans. Existing healthy and mature trees, especially those along the site perimeter, should not be removed unless removal is essential for structure, traffic or other essential facilities. Tree replacement is required for those removed. Healthy vegetation should not be removed from unusable areas such as creek or steep slopes unless replaced with vegetation that will be irrigated and grow to equivalent size within a reasonable length of time.
  4. The designer should be sure that the landscaping allows for adequate sight distance for motorists and pedestrians.
  5. Landscaping should be used in parking areas to provide shade, screen vehicles from view and minimize the expansive appearance of the pavement.
  6. Plants should be selected with attention to their setting, climatic conditions, their size when mature relative to the space provided, and their year-round interest.
  7. Where landscaping is intended to perform a function, such as screening or shading, plants should be selected so that their purpose can be achieved within two to three years.
  8. Planting areas, within and adjacent to parking lots, shall be contained and protected.
  9. 9. Appropriate permanent irrigation systems must be provided for ease of maintenance and for long life. Landscaping must be maintained at all times. Dead and badly diseased or damaged vegetation must be promptly replaced with plantings similar to those on the approved plans.
  10. 10. A statement committing the property owner to the maintenance of all landscaping features, including plants, containers, groundcovers, and irrigation facilities, both onsite and along the adjacent right of way shall accompany the landscape plans.

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  1. The material, size, color, lettering, location and arrangement of signs must be an integral part of the site and building design.
  2. Signing should be consistent in location and design throughout a project.
  3. Signing should be simple and restrained. Signs that include period consistent fonts, styles and graphics illustrating goods or services are preferred and encouraged. Wall signs and low profile freestanding signs that target pedestrians are recommended.
  4. Except for neon-type signs found to be compatible, internally illuminated signage shall not be permitted, unless approved by the Planning Commission.
  5. Lighting for signs should be subdued and shielded from view.
  6. Signs must conform to City Sign Regulations.
  7. Historic Information Signs, if appropriate, shall comply with the standard shown on Exhibit "C", and be affixed to historic buildings, or imbedded in the adjacent sidewalk in a manner approved by the Community Development Director.
  8. Streetsigns shall conform to the standard shown on Exhibit "C".

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  1. The City of Red Bluff shall not include the value of any building façade improvements completed to satisfy the requirements of these guidelines from the total building valuation used to determine the applicable construction and plan check fees.
  2. The City of Red Bluff shall not include the value of any streetscape improvements completed to satisfy the requirements of these guidelines from the total building valuation used to determine the applicable construction and plan check fees.

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Design Review is administered by the Community Development Department. Persons planning development are encouraged to contact the department to discuss the project with staff. The recommended process is as follows:


  1. Initial Conference with Staff:

    Before developing detailed plans, ideas and concepts should be discussed with the Community Development Department's staff representative. (Call (530)527-2605 for an appointment). The Community Development Director (or his subordinate) may determine that the project is exempt from these guidelines pursuant to subsection D.3, or that these guidelines have limitations with respect to the project pursuant to subsections D.4 or D.5 above.

  2. Schematic Review:

    Schematic review is recommended for all projects. Schematic review allows the Community Development Department to evaluate basic concepts and to discuss plans with an applicant before major amounts of money and time are committed to design. After discussing the project the designer is encouraged to consider staff comments and prepare final plans that incorporate details necessary to show compliance with these guidelines. There is no application fee for schematic review.

  3. Application:

    The official design review process begins when the applicant completes an application form, pays the fee and submits two sets of construction plans. Plans may be "schematic" or "final". The details required for each type of plans are listed under "Plans". (See Section "Q" below)

  4. Final Review:

    At this step, the Community Development Department will check to see that the construction plans generally conform to the schematic plans and recommended revisions and that final architectural details and landscaping plans are consistent with the guidelines. The developer is invited to meet with staff to discuss and explain the plans.

    At this meeting, the Community Development Department will take one of the following actions:

    1. Approve the plans as submitted.
    2. Approve the plans subject to conditions agreed to by the applicant.
    3. Ask the designer to make modifications.
    4. Forward the plans to the Planning Commission for consideration and action.
    5. Deny the application.

    When the Community Development Department completes its review, its findings and the judgments will be recorded in writing. A copy will be promptly transmitted to the applicant.

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Appeals to any Community Development Department decision may be filed with the Planning Commission within 10 days after the date of the letter or project review notice notifying the applicant of the Community Development Department's decision.

The Commission's findings and judgments will be recorded in detail in the minutes of the meeting. A copy of the minutes will be mailed to the applicant.

Appeals of Planning Commission decisions may be made to the City Council. Appeals must be filed with the City Clerk within 10 working days after the date of the letter notifying the applicant of the Planning Commission's decision.

No construction, grading, signage or demolition work shall commence and no permit for such work shall be issued prior to the expiration of an appeal period.


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Meetings are normally held in City Hall whenever necessary as indicated in Sections "C" and "K".

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The Community Development Department staff will prepare a written report and recommendations on each subject appealed or otherwise submitted to the Planning Commission for design review. Copies of these reports are sent to the Planning Commission members and applicants before the meetings. Copies are also available from the Community Development Department.

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Unless the Planning Commission designates a different time period, approval for projects which have not been completed and approved by the City shall expire when the construction permit expires. If requested in writing, City staff can extend applications and approvals provided a valid and reasonable need exists. The Planning Commission may also extend applications and approvals.

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If structure removal is part of a project, it must be done and all debris removed from the site within the time specified in the approval and in all cases before the construction and/or demolition permit expires.

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During construction or demolition, a builder should keep a site neat and safe by:

  1. Leaving the site in its natural condition until construction can be carried to completion as one continuous process.
  2. Storing materials safely and out of view from public property.
  3. Containing, screening and promptly removing construction debris.


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Plans must contain sufficient detail to show compliance with these guidelines. An applicant must submit 2 sets of construction plans accompanied by an application for Design Review and the application fee. If the plans are reviewed by the Planning Commission 10 additional sets of plans are required.

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Schematic plans should include the following items:

  1. A VICINITY MAP showing the relationship of the project to its neighborhood.
  2. SITE PLAN indicating points of access, circulation, parking areas, topography, landscaped areas, location of buildings and signs, setbacks from property lines, and existing trees with a diameter over six inches (6")" at a point three feet above grade.
  3. ELEVATIONS of signs and of all four sides of proposed structures indicating the form, materials and general treatment of exterior surfaces.
    1. A calculation of the number of parking spaces required.
    2. The area of the building site.
    3. The total number of new dwelling units and existing units that will remain.
    4. The area of the site to be covered by buildings and parking.
    5. Note proposed use or occupancy of each portion of all buildings.
    6. The zoning and actual current use of the site and adjacent properties.

    Each sheet in the schematic proposal should be clearly identified with the name and address of the development and the name, address and telephone number of the applicant. Plan views must include a north arrow and all plans must indicate a scale.


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Final development plans will be reviewed when complete and submitted with the appropriate application fee. The applicant will submit 2 of those plan sets (10 additional sets are required if review is by the Planning Commission) that contain the following information.

    1. Dimensioned property lines and setbacks
    2. Location, name and width (including required widening of adjacent streets.)
    3. The name, location and width of watercourses.
    4. Existing and proposed public and private easements.
    5. All proposed improvements and existing improvements which will be retained.
    6. Parking spaces and aisles, dimensioned and with the flow of traffic noted by arrows.
    7. Access and circulation for pedestrians and vehicles.
    8. Walls, fences and exterior lighting structures.
    9. Landscaped and outdoor use areas.
    10. Location of existing trees with a diameter over six inches (6") at a point three feet above grade.
    11. If new sign area is proposed, the location of all existing and proposed signs.
    12. Trash and recycling area enclosures.
    1. A calculation of the number of parking spaces required.
    2. The area of the building site.
    3. The total number of new dwelling units and existing units that will remain.
    4. The area of the site to be surfaced (covered by buildings, parking, etc.)
    5. The current use of the site and adjacent properties.
    1. Present and proposed elevations and retaining walls.
    2. Show means of draining lot surface water and where it will be discharged.
    1. Note proposed use of each portion of all buildings with dimensions.
    1. All sides of buildings.
    2. Location and size of signs.
    3. Materials and colors of all exterior surfaces and features.
    4. Exterior mechanical equipment and proposals for screening, including electrical and gas connections and meter boxes.
    1. Treatment of all unpaved areas not occupied by structures.
    2. Size, height and location of existing and proposed plants.
    3. Include planting details for street trees and groundcover in sidewalk tree wells or planter strips between the street and sidewalk.
    4. Parking lot shade trees.
    5. Method of irrigation.
    6. A statement committing the property owner to the maintenance of all landscaping features, including plants, containers, groundcovers, and irrigation facilities, both onsite and along the adjacent right of way.
    1. Plans for each sign.
    2. Dimensions and areas of all existing and proposed signs.
    3. Dimensions and areas of building walls on which signs are located.
    4. Heights of all signs.
    5. Means of lighting.
    6. Message that will appear on each sign.
    7. Description of materials and colors and fonts for letters and backgrounds.

    The applicant may be required to include supplementary material such as photographs, actual building materials, color perspectives and renderings or a written explanation of design rationale for clarity of project understanding


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Fees for Historic Design Review shall be as specified in Section T of Volume 1 of the Non-Historic Design Review Guidelines.



  1. Establish Design Review Process:
    Ord. 658* Establish DRC Adopted 12/2/1980
    Res. 24-1981 Adopt Guidelines Adopted 6/16/1981
    Ord. 846 Revise Process Adopted 8/4/1992
  2. Historic Commercial and Historic Residential Zoning Districts:
    Ord. 915 Provided Text Adopted 6/20/2000
    Ord. 925 Map Implementation Adopted _______
  3. Establish Separate Volume 2; Design Review Guidelines for Historic District.
    Res. 17-2001 Adopt Guidelines Adopted _______

    *Ordinance 658 authorizes adoption of guidelines by Resolution (RBCC 7.5.c)


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Red Bluff, CA 96080
Phone: (530) 527-2605
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