Learn More About the ABR Plan Review

Any new construction, addition, or alteration which changes the exterior appearance of a building must be approved by the Architectural Board of Review before a building permit is issued. 

The Shaker Heights Architectural Board of Review consists of three architects who are registered and licensed to practice in the State of Ohio and are residents of the City of Shaker Heights. The basic purpose of the Architectural Board of Review is to maintain the high standard of architectural quality in the community. The Board is concerned not only with the design of the specific project but also the effect it will have on the surrounding environment. 

The design of a new construction project should consider the rich architectural heritage of Shaker Heights as well as the relationship of the new building to its neighbors. Alterations and additions should be compatible with the architectural elements of the existing structure in terms of scale, architectural details, materials, and colors.  

Please note: Certain exterior changes, such as a commonly installed replacement window or roof shingle, can be reviewed by staff in the Planning Department. Please call the Planning Department at 216-491-1430 to inquire about your project.

Getting Started with ABR

Following is general information about how to submit your project for review by ABR. (Find applications and other submission documents.) 

  • It is the obligation of the applicant to obtain the requirements for building permits from the Building Department
  • All plans will be reviewed for compliance with the Zoning Codes. The applicant will be notified if the plans are in violation of any of this code. (View the Zoning Code (PDF) and the Zoning Map (PDF).)
  • Submissions must be drawn in a manner which clearly and accurately depicts proposed work. ALL DRAWINGS MUST BE DRAWN TO A MEASURABLE SCALE Commonly 1/4” = 1’ (site plan 1” = 20’). Staff may only accept complete and clear applications. Clear photos and three sets of all drawings must be submitted.
  • The Architectural Board of Review recommends that for large projects, including new buildings, major additions, or substantial exterior alterations, the applicant consider presenting a preliminary submission of plans prior to formal consideration. 
  • Not all projects going before the ABR are approved at the first meeting, and you may need to appear before the board a second time. You’ll want to be sure to take the timing of the ABR meeting dates (PDF) into consideration when planning your project.