About Site Plan Reviews
Since 2002, the Topeka Municipal Code has included requirements for Site Plan review and approval in conjunction with Building Permit approval. The City is now requiring a Site Plan Review application and preliminary review of the site plan prior to application for a building permit when applicable. (see applicability below)
Site Plan Review benefits owners, design professionals, and the general public. The Site Plan Review process helps to:
- Identify and resolve issues early in the planning and design process to avoid costly changes later on;
- Provide more timely and certain feedback to owners and design professionals;
- Improve coordination and effectiveness of City policies/regulations among reviewing departments and agencies;
- Facilitate the building permit review and approval process.
City staff will review Site Plan Review applications for conformance to City policy and regulations (zoning, parking and design, site design, landscaping, traffic engineering, circulation, utilities, stormwater) and will render decisions on site plans prior to submittal of plans and documents for building permits.
Staff began Early Site Plan Review as a Pilot Program in 2015 and it is now required for all projects meeting the “applicability” criteria below. Staff will continually review the effectiveness of application procedures and make adjustments as needed. Feedback from applicants and other stakeholders is encouraged.
Applicability – When is Site Plan Review Required?
Projects with any of the following characteristics require Site Plan Review in accordance with Topeka Municipal Code 18.260 (Site Plans) or TMC 18.235 (Landscape Plans):
- New construction of a principal building for all uses except single-family, two-family, and triplex residential uses;
- New parking lots;
- Building additions or major alterations greater than 15,000 sq. ft.;
- Alterations to parking lots, outdoor storage areas, or building additions exceeding a 50% increase of the parking or gross floor area of the building being expanded;
- Any alteration that results in a significant change to vehicular circulation (i.e. addition of drive-through window) or in the net reduction of off-street parking by 20 percent;
- Building alteration increasing the height of a building by one story or more;
- For accessory uses and accessory structures greater than 400 square feet, or when one or more structures result in the net reduction of off-street parking or a significant change to vehicular circulation. Accessory uses and/or structures may be reviewed in conjunction with the review of principal structures when such accessory structures are shown on the site plan.
Projects Not Requiring a Site Plan Review Application
A Site Plan Review application is not required for projects not meeting the applicability conditions. However, a site plan is or may be required with the building permit application.
A Site Plan Review application is not required for site plans already approved as part of a site-specific Conditional Use Permit. Review and approval of a site development plan associated with Planned Unit Development Plans follows the Site Plan Review process.
Site Plan Review applications shall include all requirements listed in TMC 18.260 Site Plans and TMC 18.235 Landscape Plans and shall be prepared by a qualified design professional. If a stormwater management report and/or drainage calculations are required these must be signed, sealed and stamped by a professional engineer. A Traffic Impact Analysis by a professional engineer may be required by Public Works.
Site Plan Review & Approval Process
- A pre-application meeting with a design professional is strongly encouraged prior to submittal of a Site Plan Review application. (Contact Annie Driver, 368-3010). The purpose of this meeting is to provide for coordination among City staff reviewing agencies to identify and address protential issues with the project prior to submittal of a site plan review application.
- Applicant submits the following items in both print and electronic (pdf) format to the Topeka Planning Department (email pdf files to firstname.lastname@example.org).
- Site Plan Review Application
- Two folded copies of the Site Plan and Landscape Plan, and other associated plans as determined are needed at the pre-application meeting.
- If required, electronic and two print copies of Traffic Impact Analysis and Stormwater Drainage Report and/or drainage information.
- The Planning Department distributes the Site Plan Review application to reviewing departments and agencies for comment (Engineering, Utilities, Development Services, Fire, Water Pollution Control, etc.). City staff will meet internally within two weeks to review the site plan application. The outcome of the Site Plan Review, including staff comments, will be emailed to the applicant in the form of an attachment within 2 to 3 weeks. If a Traffic Study or stormwater drainage report is required by Public Works, this time line might be longer.
- The outcome of the Site Plan Review will be one of the following:
- Review is not completed: the application is incomplete and lacks substantial information required to review.
- Review of the site plan is still in process and substantial revisions are required: All reviews shall be completed and revisions to the site plan accepted by City staff prior to application being made to Development Services for a Building Permit.
- Review is completed with conditions: All reviews have been completed and either minor revisions or no revisions are required. The site plan may be re-submitted to Development Services with the application for the Building Permit.
- Site Plan Application
- Topeka Municipal Code
- Drainage Review Requirements / Quantity and Stormwater Quality Requirements – contact Jennifer Harrell, City of Topeka Engineering – 785-368-3842
- For stormwater quality practices, refer to
- Mid America Regional Council Handbook on Best Management Practices
- City of Topeka Post Construction Stormwater Quality Policy
- Contact Jennifer Harrell, City of Topeka Engineering – 785-368-3842
- Stormwater Review Checklist