As outlined in the City's General Plan, the identity of Los Altos is predicated upon its small-town atmosphere as a mature residential community with a historic Downtown and neighborhood commercial centers.
Since a majority of the City was developed between 1950 and 1970, there is consistency in the development patterns and architectural appearance throughout the residential community. This development embodied a rural atmosphere with quarter- and half-acre lots, one- and two-structures, and extensive landscaping. Residential Design Guidelines were adopted to ensure that new development and modifications to existing development are compatible with surrounding neighborhoods and integrate well within the fabric of the community. Design Review does not mandate the duplication of elements or styles. Rather, the process encourages design integrity and respect for the physical qualities and character of the surrounding residential neighborhoods and commercial developments.
Therefore, all new construction, additions and exterior modifications to existing structures are subject to design review.
Design review requirements differ based on building type: