Downtown Urban Design District


Downtown Fort Worth strives to build upon its image as the most vibrant, walkable, mixed-use urban center in the region by focusing on exceptional design of both private and public places.

To that end, the Downtown Urban Design Standards and Guidelines (DUDSG) were developed in 2001 and updated in 2016 in partnership with Downtown Fort Worth Inc. (DFWI) and community stakeholders. The DUDSG are meant to improve and protect the appearance, value, and function of downtown properties. The standards and guidelines allow for creativity and variety within a framework of basic design parameters that reinforce the best attributes of downtown.

Downtown Design Review Board

The Downtown Design Review Board is charged with handling hearings and determinations of applications for certificates of appropriateness for a building permit for construction of a new structure, expansion or remodeling or other alterations of the first and/or second floor of an existing structure, signage, and construction of a surface parking lot. In addition they are charged with the duty and invested with authority of any proposed amendments to the Downtown Urban design Standards to the Zoning Commission and City Council.

Certificate of Appropriateness

Before applying for a building permit, you must acquire a Certificate of Appropriateness. Alterations to the exterior of every building within the Downtown Urban Design District must be reviewed by the Downtown Design Review Board. Such alterations include, but are not limited to:

  • Construction of a new structure;
  • Expansion of an existing structure;
  • Construction of a surface parking lot
  • The installation and alteration of permanent signs, banners, window signs, and temporary signs;
  • Installation or alteration of awnings or canopies
  • The installation or alteration of sidewalk areas, including the installation of trees, planters, and other items affecting the walkway area
  • Lighting fixtures

No Certificate of Appropriateness is required for ordinary repairs. In-kind replacement or repair is considered to be ordinary repair and maintenance is reviewed and approved by the Downtown Design Review Board Staff prior to issuance of the permits in order to determine whether a Certificate of Appropriateness is required.

Application and Review Process

The DDRB meets once a month. To have your case placed on the agenda, you must fill out an application by the second Monday of the month. Once Staff has determined that your application is complete, your case will be placed on the next available DDRB agenda. If necessary, Staff will schedule a meeting with you to review the design and suggest any necessary modifications. Staff will then mail you a notice of the Hearing, an Agenda, and a copy of the applicable Staff report. If approved, Staff will mail you a decision letter and a copy of the Certificate of Appropriateness following the hearing.


Helpful Hints

  • Meet the application deadline
  • Clearly determine the scope of the project
  • Talk with the DDRB staff early in the process
  • Make an appointment to ensure the staff has adequate time to assist you
  • Provide required information as soon as possible
  • Provide thorough documentation to staff when you turn in your application
  • Obtain any necessary permits
  • Contact DDRB staff immediately if plans change during construction
  • Make an Appointment with DFWI’s Design Review Committee to receive a recommendation prior to the DDRB hearing.

Applications for cases within the Downtown Urban Design District (DUDD) are reviewed by the Downtown Design Review Board and must be filed with the City of Fort Worth Planning and Development Department, located at City Hall, 200 Texas St., in the northwest corner of the building.

Application Deadlines and Meeting Dates

 Application Deadline  Meeting Date
 January 12, 2024  February 1, 2024
 February 9, 2024  March 7, 2024
 March 8, 2024  April 4, 2024
 April 12, 2024  May 2, 2024
 May 10, 2024  June 6, 2024
 July 12, 2024  August 1, 2024
 August 9, 2024  September 5, 2024
 September 13, 2024  October 3, 2024
 October 11, 2024  November 7, 2024
 November 8, 2024  December 5, 2024