Design Review Board and Planning and Zoning Commission: What’s the Difference?

Although Historic Macon offers historic tax credit consulting services and preservation loan programs as a nonprofit, we do not regulate local historic districts. That role in the local preservation community is jointed by the Design Review Board (DRB), the Planning and Zoning Commission (P&Z), and Macon-Bibb County Planning Department. The Planning Department can be reached at (478) 751-7450.

In general, DRB deals with the specifics of a project within a design district, reviewing it according to that particular district’s guidelines using their knowledge of design. For instance, DRB might recommend that P&Z approve a property owner for a Certificate of Appropriateness (COA) to reopen a historic front porch that was later enclosed. Before giving their recommendation, DRB will review the details of the porch, including the look of the handrails, stairs, etc. Check out these design guidelines and the COA application before contacting the Planning Department at (478) 751-7450.

After DRB’s recommendation, P&Z can simply ratify their recommendation, and the property owner will have their COA. P&Z also hears applications for permits to build additions, re-zone a parcel, etc. Their decision on a permit or COA application is final.

If you have any questions about this process, the Zoning Department can be reached at (478) 751-7450 or

Macon-Bibb County Planning • 682 Cherry St. • Suite 901 • Macon, Georgia 31201