In 1976 the Town adopted a design review section to the Zoning Bylaw and established a Design Review Board to maintain and enhance the visual “character” of the Town. The design review process originally only applied to sign permit applications but has since then been expanded to include a review of applications for site plan review, exterior commercial façade changes, antennas, retaining walls, major and minor construction projects, and Large House Review projects. The Design Review Board evaluates projects based on the Design Guidelines Handbook and sections of the Zoning Bylaw pertaining to Design Criteria.
The Design Guidelines Handbook was last updated in 1989. In 2018, the Town engaged Gamble Associates to assist the Design Review Board and general public in developing an updated, comprehensive draft of the Guidelines. The Design Review Board is now working with other departments across Town to finalize a draft version of the Guidelines that will be suitable for adoption. It is anticipated that these Guidelines would guide development in a way that respects existing village and architectural character, while also identifying preferred and encouraged design decisions with respect to buildings and sites. These Guidelines would apply to all projects in town, except for one- and two-family homes.