Downtown Design Guidelines

Thurston First building in Downtown Olympia

What are Design Guidelines?

Design guidelines are regulations applied to development projects. They intend for projects to upgrade physical attractiveness; be compatible with neighbors; promote safety, security and livability; be environmentally responsible; and promote health and pedestrian activity.

Design guidelines address a variety of topics:

  • Site Planning: Orientation to the street, location of driveways, entries
  • Site Design: Landscaping, lighting, and pedestrian open space
  • Building Design: Character, architectural elements, details, and materials

Downtown Design Guidelines Update

The City is updating the design guidelines for downtown. This action was recommended in the Downtown Strategy to simplify the organization, promote a more urban design quality and be compatible with the strategy’s character areas.

Draft Design Guidelines

With help from a technical work group, City staff and consultants from MAKERS have prepared a working draft of the new guidelines. This version considers all comments received through April 2018. Planners are completing a technical review before the Planning Commission's public hearing draft is complete, which is expected to be released in the summer of 2019. The Commission is expected to hold a public hearing this fall.

Summary Handouts


Contact Joyce Phillips at 360.570.3722 or