Appearance Commission

2021 Sir Walter Raleigh Awards

Congratulations to the winners of the 2021 Sir Walter Raleigh Awards! Please visit the Sir Walter Raleigh Awards page to learn more about the awards.

The Appearance Commission was established by City Council in 1973 to provide guidance, advice, and recommendations regarding the visual quality and aesthetic characteristics of the City of Raleigh. The Appearance Commission also hears requests for Design Alternates from the City’s Unified Development Ordinance, acting as a quasi-judicial body. The commission consists of 15 members, the majority of whom have special training or experience in architecture, landscape architecture, horticulture, city planning, or related design fields. The members shall reside within the city limits or within the planning and zoning jurisdiction of the city. At least one member of the commission must be a resident of the City’s extraterritorial planning and development regulation area.

When hearing quasi-judicial matters, the Appearance Commission has 9 regular members and 6 alternate members. The ETJ member must be a regular member and must be appointed by the Wake County Board of Commissioners.

The Commission also appoints standing committees to undertake special design-related outreach and education efforts such as the Sir Walter Raleigh Awards.

Meeting Information

Current Agenda - July 7, 2022

Meeting Date
A public meeting of the Raleigh Appearance Commission is scheduled for Thursday, July 7, 2022, at 4:30 p.m.

Raleigh Municipal Building
222 West Hargett Street
Council Chamber

The Commission typically meets on the first and third Thursday of each month at 4:30 p.m. Meeting agendas are added to the BoardDocs agenda management portal.

The Appearance Commission hears Design Alternate requests at its first meeting of each month (the first Thursday of each month) and Administrative Alternate requests and other business at its second meeting of each month (the third Thursday of each month).

Filing Calendar
Please see the Design Alternate Application for information regarding the deadline to submit Design Alternate requests.





Design Alternates

The Appearance Commission hears and decides requests for Design Alternates from the City’s Unified Development Ordinance. When hearing Design Alternates, the Appearance Commission sits as a quasi-judicial body and conducts an evidentiary hearing on the Design Alternate request.

The Appearance Commission is now accepting Design Alternate applications. The Commission began conducting evidentiary hearings on Design Alternate requests at its October 1, 2020, meeting. Among other requirements, to be placed on an agenda, a Design Alternate application must be submitted a minimum of 60 days prior to the meeting at which the application will be heard. More information regarding the application process can be found in the Design Alternate Application.

Minutes Archive

We moved to BoardDocs in June of 2017. View agendas and minutes from 2017 to present there. 

Minutes - (zip file downloads for items older than 2017):

Appearance Commission Members

If you would like to be considered for service on the Appearance Commission, please complete the online interest form.

*Select each member's name below to view address information. 

Member Directory

Return to all Boards and Commissions page.