Design Guidelines

Design Guidelines

The Citywide Design Guidelines are currently in the process of a comprehensive update.

Registerfor the Planning Design Guidelines Workshop on Zoom - November 16, 2021 at 6:00pm

The Citywide Design Guidelines implement the goals and policies of the General Plan and expand on the basic development standards of the Zoning Code. Specifically, the Guidelines implement the General Plan land use policies and strategies relative to urban design, pedestrian circulation, community and neighborhood identity, residential, commercial, and industrial project design.


Elk Grove is a geographically and ethnically diverse, family-oriented community with an exceptional quality of life. The City is known for having a range of housing options at all levels, an award-winning school district, a historic district, and a first-rate parks system. Elk Grove has a prosperous business community with an entrepreneurial spirit that boasts a variety of shops and services. The City will continue to promote a high quality of life and diverse living options, while at the same time achieving a strengthened identity within the region and providing greater recreational opportunities, better access to community facilities, improved lifestyle amenities, and expanded employment opportunities.

The City of Elk Grove's current Citywide Design Guidelines were adopted by the Elk Grove City Council in phases in 2003, 2004, and 2007. Development applications over the last 15 years have been evaluated based on consistency with the adopted Design Guidelines.

Purpose and Intent of Design Review and the update to the Design Guidelines

The purpose of design review and the currently adopted Citywide Design Guidelines in the City of Elk Grove is:

  • To promote the orderly and harmonious growth of the City.
  • To encourage development in keeping with the desired character of the City.
  • To ensure physical, visual, and functional compatibility between uses.
  • To help prevent the depreciation of land values by ensuring proper attention is given to site and architectural design.

Since the adoption of the Design Guidelines, the City has matured, a broad range of development has occurred in all areas of the City, and design trends and practices have evolved. Recognizing the limitations of the existing Design Guidelines, the City, in 2019, initiated a comprehensive update to the Citywide Design Guidelines as a City Council Strategic Imperative. The goal of this effort is to enhance standards for community design while encouraging creativity and recognizing the unique characteristics of distinct neighborhoods while maintaining housing affordability. The comprehensive update is intended to address the market and design demands of the day while maintaining flexibility to accommodate future trends without compromising the vision and the character of Elk Grove.

Design Guidelines Use

The Citywide Design Guidelines are used in the review of projects within the City of Elk Grove. To facilitate ease of use, the document is organized into different sections based on the proposed type of project. There are separate sections for Single family Residential Development (Subdivision Maps and Master Home Plans), Multi-family Residential Development, and Non-residential Development. Within each section, there are design criteria for various aspects of site and building design. Each section is structured with an introduction to desirable design concepts, followed by guidelines that reiterate design objectives and establish provisions and options to ensure implementation of desired design concepts. Guidelines are listed in the form of recommended/encouraged provisions (should), specific solutions/mandatory requirements (shall), design targets through representative sample, or a menu of design solutions from which to choose. Guidelines also include incentive-based provisions to encourage exceptional design. This approach results in a greater measure of predictability to the Design Review process, while maintaining flexibility and the option for creative design solutions.

View the Draft Design GuidelinesView Summary of IWG Comments

Target Dates

  • Planning Commission: January 2022
  • City Council: February 2022


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