Appearance Review

An Appearance Review is the process whereby the Plan Commission and Village staff review the aesthetic details of a developer's plan to ensure that they are in conformance with the appearance code (Chapter 2.96).

Areas Subject to Appearance Review

All new developments and redevelopment in the commercial and industrial zones are subject to review. Upon recommendation and referral by staff, developments in any other zoning district may also be subject to appearance review.

Elements Subject to Review

Items which visually and physically affect the Village environment, including the design of the site, buildings and structures, landscaping, signs, street hardware and miscellaneous objects which are observed by the public, are subject to aesthetic review. Specifically:
  • Improved and Unimproved Land, including:
    • Gardens
    • Malls
    • Open Spaces
    • Playgrounds
    • Rights-of-Way
    • Streams
    • Streets and Parkways
    • Water Retention Areas and Other Elements
    • Yards
  • External Architectural Features of Existing and Proposed Buildings and Structures
  • Landscaping and Land Topography
  • Walks, Drives, Paths, Parking Areas and Plazas
  • Exterior Furniture, Hardware, Signs and Markers, Posts and Fences, Barriers, Lighting Fixtures, Supplemental Structures and Appurtenant Facilities

Required Documents & Materials

For final approval, the petitioner is required to submit the following:
  • Buildings - Detailed elevations of all building facades, indicating the location of all signs, exposed mechanical equipment, stacks, etc. and appropriate screening devices; a color board with samples of all exterior materials
  • Landscaping Plan - A detailed landscaping plan specifying species, sizes and quantity of all plant materials; locations of proposed signs and lighting details of proposed fencing, retaining walls, walks, etc.; and nature of topography including berms, detention basins, etc.
  • Lighting - Drawings or photographs indicating the design, height, spacing, timing and illumination characteristics of all proposed lighting features.
  • Signs - A color rendering of all signs (including all copy) proposed or elevations with color chips attached and 1 representative color rendering; attachment and construction details of the sign and information on the method, timing and intensity of illumination, if any
    • For wall-mounted signs, an elevation of the wall showing the sign location and design on the wall must be provided.
    • For freestanding signs, a plot plan showing the location of the sign on the property, as well as treatment of the base area such as landscaping, must be provided.

Plan Commission Approval

The petitioner may prefer to seek concept approval from the Plan Commission initially and then incorporate their recommendations and ideas into final drawings and plans. Preliminary plans and information regarding landscaping, lighting and building elevations would be required for concept approval. The petitioner must receive final approval before any construction permits will be issued.

Beginning the Appearance Review Process

The Appearance Review Process begins when the petitioner has completed an Application for Appearance Review (PDF) and has submitted all plans, drawings, color samples and information pertinent to the site. All information must accompany the application before staff will begin to review the proposal for conformance with the Village's ordinances and codes. No meeting date will be scheduled until all requirements of the application are complete.

Review the Plans & Materials

All plans and materials will be reviewed by the staff and forwarded to the Plan Commission for final approval. If the petition is part of another legislative action, such as a special use hearing or site plan approval, recommendations of the Plan Commission will then be forwarded with those of the Plan Commission and/or Zoning Board of Appeals, to the Corporate Authorities for final action.

Number of Prints Needed

Thirteen prints will be needed for review by the Plan Commission. If the petition requires Village Board approval, 20 prints (revised if necessary) will be required to be submitted after commission approval.

When Construction Starts

After approval by the Plan Commission or Village Board of Trustees, construction permits must be obtained from the Community Development Department prior to the start of any construction or installation activity.

More Information

For further information, contact the Community Development Department at 847-459-2620.