In some jurisdictions, the Planning Commission has discretion over all building permit applications. Normally, this discretion is delegated to the Planning Department, which approves applications that meet the minimum standards of the Planning Code.

From time to time the Commission will review a permit application. As part of their discretionary powers, they can require the permit applicant to make changes to the project. This process of Commission consideration is commonly known as Discretionary Review, or simply DR. By filing a DR application, a member of the public is asking the Commission to exercise its discretionary power, effectively taking a second look at the proposed project.

Discretionary Review is a special power of the Commission, outside the normal building permit application approval process. It is to be used only when there are exceptional and extraordinary circumstances associated with a proposed project. The Commission has been advised by the City Attorney that the Commission’s discretion is sensitive and it has to be exercised with utmost constraint.