Downtown Design Committee

City offices are now open to the public.

Electronic/digital submission of applications and other materials is encouraged whenever feasible. Consult the Staff Directory or the specific subject page for staff contact information.

Mailed items can be sent to:


Credit card payments can now be accepted over the phone. Please call the Planning Department at 757-393-8836 for more information. Please note that a signed credit card authorization form is required to be submitted before a credit card payment can be processed.

Properties within the Downtown Design (DD) Overlay District are subject to the Downtown Design Guidelines. See map below.

A Certificate of Appropriateness (COA) is required for most improvements that modify the exterior appearance of a site. Review by the Downtown Design Committee (DDC) is required for COA applications that cannot be administratively approved.

UPDATED 2021 DDC Meeting Schedule and Submission Deadlines

Consult the Downtown Design Manual to review the Downtown Guidelines.

Additional development standards can be found in the Zoning Ordinance.

Download and submit a Certificate of Appropriateness (COA) Application to have a proposed project reviewed for compliance with the guidelines.

Note: Applications and supporting materials must be received fourteen (14) days prior to the meeting.

Applicants are encouraged to contact staff via email or phone. Staff Directory

Effective July 1, 2021, all boards and commissions will be meeting in person in the City Hall Building. See below for specifics.


  •  6:00 PM
  • 1st Tuesday of each month
  • Meetings are held in the 6th Floor Conference Room in the Portsmouth City Hall Building at 801 Crawford Street, Portsmouth, Virginia.
  • Parties wishing to provide comments on specific agenda items, may send comments via fax to 757-393-5223, or by mail to the Planning Department, 801 Crawford Street Portsmouth, Virginia 23704-3822, or by email to Please submit correspondence prior to the public hearing day.

Note: Applications and supporting materials must be received a minimum of fourteen (14) days prior to the meeting.

Agendas & Minutes

Agendas are available prior to the meetings. Minutes are available following approval.

View Most Recent Agenda


  • Jeffrey Butts, Chair
  • Nathan Lahy, Vice Chair
  • Danielle Babcheck
  • Chris Crowder
  • Dawn Richardson
  • Dr. Bobbie Hansel-Union
  • Daniel Moore

Mission Statement

The Downtown Design Committee is to preserve the character of the downtown design districts via promoting the preservation and restoration of existing structures; and, promoting new structures that compliment the character of the downtown design districts.