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. As of July 2020, 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.

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

December 2 Meeting Update

The December 2 meeting of the Raleigh Appearance Commission will be a remote meeting conducted by electronic means. The meeting will be held at 4:30 p.m.

The General Assembly has approved the use of remote meetings, including remote quasi-judicial hearings, during the statewide COVID-19 state of emergency pursuant to Session Law 2021-2, N.C. Gen. Stat. § 166A-19.24. The remote meetings of the City Council and the City Boards and Commissions will be conducted in accordance with the provisions of that statute.


Current Agenda - December 2, 2021

First and third Thursday of each month
4:30 p.m.
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.


Virtual: The next regular Appearance Commission meeting will be conducted on Dec. 2 at 4:30 p.m.

Appearance Commission public meetings will be broadcast live on RTN 11 and on our live streaming webpage. To watch past meetings, visit our video services page.

Agendas and Meeting Minutes
View on BoardDocs

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





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.

How to Participate in the December 2, 2021 Meeting (Evidentiary Hearings for Design Alternate Cases)

All individuals (including, but not limited to, all attorneys, applicants, property owners, witnesses, and neighbors) must sign-up in advance to participate in the Appearance Commission meeting. To participate in an evidentiary hearing at the December 2 Appearance Commission meeting you must sign-up using this form, no later than 5 p.m. on Wednesday, November 24. Individuals who sign-up to participate will receive an email with additional instructions and information upon sign-up. Per instructions in the email, all presentations, documents, exhibits and any other materials are due by 5 p.m. Wednesday, November 24.

Design Committee

The Design Committee is a subcommittee with the purpose of discussing potential options for the Commission to present to the City Council in 2021 for Commission review of certain projects. The Design Committee currently meets in a virtual environment.

  • Current Agenda - February 12, 2021
  • Meeting Schedule: Meeting at 12 p.m.
  • Meeting Location: Virtual
  • Discussion Items:
    Design review options for the Commission

Committee Assignments:

Will Gaskins
Jake Levitas
Christopher Roberts
Adam Walters

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):

Member Directory