Appearance Commission





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. Acting as a quasi-judicial body, the Appearance Commission also conducts evidentiary hearings on design alternate requests from the City’s Unified Development Ordinance.

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 City’s extraterritorial jurisdiction (ETJ). At least one member of the commission must be a resident of the City’s ETJ.

When hearing quasi-judicial matters, the Appearance Commission has nine regular members and six 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 - February 2, 2023

Meeting Date
A public meeting of the Raleigh Appearance Commission is scheduled for Thursday, February 2 at 4:30 p.m.

Raleigh Municipal Building
222 West Hargett Street
City Council Chamber

The Commission typically meets on the first and third Thursday of each month at 4:30 p.m. Current and past meeting agendas are available in the BoardDocs agenda management portal. Recordings of past meetings are available on the City’s video services page.

The first meeting of each month is held in the Raleigh Municipal Building City Council Chamber (222 W Hargett Street) during which the Appearance Commission hears Design Alternate requests. The Appearance Commission conducts other business at its second meeting of each month in the Raleigh Municipal Building Meeting Room 303.

Design Alternates

The Appearance Commission hears and decides requests for design alternates from the City’s Unified Development Ordinance (UDO). When conducting evidentiary hearings on design alternates, the Appearance Commission sits as a quasi-judicial body. Items eligible for design alternate consideration are listed in UDO Section 10.2.17.

Submittal requirements and instructions to file for design alternate are provided in the Design Alternate Application. A pre-application meeting is required prior to filing a design alternate application. Complete Design Alternate application must be filed by the filing deadline.

Minutes Archive

Agendas and minutes from 2019 to present are available in BoardDocs.

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

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