Questions & Answers - Shaker Design Competition
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Questions & Answers

Entrants may seek further clarification of the information presented in the competition brief by submitting questions via email to All answers to questions or clarifications will be posted on the Shaker Heights Design Competition website within one week of receiving the question. Entrants will be informed via email when their question has been officially received.


Questions & Answers

Q: What is the current Zoning for the lots specified?

A: The existing zoning for the target areas for the competition is Two Family and Single Family 3. Because the goal is to encourage new housing options, the city is willing to consider a Planned Unit Development Overlay Zone in this area, which would enable greater density, for example.


Q: What Design Guidelines should teams be aware of?

A: The city is excited to see modern, innovative and interesting designs for this project. These are the current Design Guidelines for Single-Family Infill Housing for the City of Shaker Heights provided for reference. Please note that the infill guidelines apply to all single family infill in the city and are therefore broad. For this competition, the City is mostly concerned with attention paid to massing and quality materials.


Q: Does the City of Shaker Heights offer tax abatement?

A: The Community Reinvestment Area encompasses all residential vacant lots in the Moreland district. The City offers 10 year 100% tax abatement for new single-family residential construction sold to owner occupants.


Q: Will only the winners be allowed to build?

A: No. Preference will be given to the winners in selecting the lots they are interested in and the scale, but the City will negotiate with all teams that it considers good candidates for development of new housing in the City. We anticipate that different teams will have different capacities to undertake construction and want to be flexible to allow as many interested parties as possible with the opportunity to participate. Because we have 50+ available lots, we can work with multiple teams.


Q: Are contemporary designs okay?

A: Absolutely.


Q: Can students participate?

A: Students can participate as part of teams. We recommend that they approach firms expressing their interest. Advisors and professors can likely recommend firms to contact.


Q: Who will fund construction?

A: The builder/developer will be responsible for securing construction financing. The City’s contribution will be the land and the tax abatement.


Q: How many homes does the City anticipate building?

A: We have 50+ vacant lots available so we can entertain various alternatives, depending on the developer and what they feel they can handle and how they want to structure construction. One builder may be interested in building some units speculatively and then pre-selling others, another may be interested in pre-selling. That is why we will negotiate those terms individually.


Q: Who will compensate the architect for construction documents?

A: The builder/developer will compensate the architect as part of their construction costs.


Q: Is there an entrance fee?

A: No.


Q: Are submissions made online?

A: Yes. You will also be expected to provide printed boards: By the end of November, an update to online Submission Guidelines will include a description of how to contact our printer to arrange payment, printing and delivery of your submission boards to our offices by the deadline.


Q: Are international submissions acceptable?

A: Yes, but keep in mind that the ultimate goal is to actually have these houses built, which is why the team must include a builder.


Q: Can out-of-state builders participate?

A: Yes.


Q: For those who cannot attend, will a recording of the October 19, 2016 Interactive Forum with residents and realtors be made available?

A: Yes, an audio recording and summary transcript will be posted on the competition website.


Q. Can a licensed architect that does not have their own firm submit?

A. Yes.


Q. Is modern architecture acceptable?

A. Yes. Our main interest is high quality materials and design where the massing is consistent with the rest of the neighborhood.


Q. Can a licensed architect that does not have their own firm submit?

A. Yes.


Q. Is modern architecture acceptable?

A.  Yes. Our main interest is high quality materials and design where the massing is consistent with the rest of the neighborhood.


Q. What are the setbacks for the lots in the competition?

A. For houses on the east side of Chelton, such as those located in the Design Competition, the front setback is 40 ft., the driveside setback is 10 ft., the non- driveside setback is 5 ft., and the rear setback is 25 ft. In addition, an open front porch can encroach 10 ft. beyond the setback. If you have further questions, feel free to contact our Zoning Administrator Dan Feinstein, 216-491-1435.


Q. Can a firm submit multiple submissions?

A. Yes.


Q. Will higher density be considered than current zoning allows?

A. Creative thinking about land use density is encouraged and will not negatively impact your submission. We will address potential changes to zoning during the negotiation and construction phase of the project.


Q. Do architects and contractors have to be locally registered?

A. States and local municipalities, including the State of Ohio and the City of Shaker Heights, do have licensing and registration requirements for Architects and Contractors that will need to be met in order to proceed with the construction phase of this competition. The licensing requirement for the Architect may depend on the program being proposed in the submission, because in Ohio, many small residential projects are not required to be stamped by an Architect registered in the State of Ohio. If the project scope does require the plans be stamped by a licensed Architect, you will need to either partner with a local architect to execute the project or apply for License Registration by Reciprocity. In all cases, the Builder/Contractor will need to be registered with the City of Shaker Heights prior to starting the construction portion of the project.

That said, we really are searching for the very best ideas regardless of where they come from and we are more than willing to entertain partnerships between national/international architects and local architects/builders. We will help guide entrants through the required registration processes if they are selected to move forward to the Construction phase of the competition.


Q. What are the sizes of the lots?

A. You can check the dimensions directly at the County Auditor’s website using the permanent parcel number (PPN). The single lot is 45’x160’; the double lot is 75’x160’; and the triple lot is 135’x160’. A CAD base map is also available.


Q. Are there any restrictions as to which side of the parcel/lot the driveway is placed?

A. There are no restrictions as to which side of the lot a driveway can be placed. Creating a double drive can sometimes impact a neighbor and would be something that is reviewed as part of the actual site plan review for new construction. As long as no real issues are being created, it may be just fine.