Leavenworth’s location in a valley with outstanding natural scenic beauty, enhanced by the adoption of the Old World Bavarian Alpine Theme, forms the basis for a thriving tourist industry upon which the city’s economic health so heavily depends. The Leavenworth Design Review Board is a volunteer board, appointed by the mayor, for the purpose of ensuring compliance with Leavenworth’s Old World Bavarian Alpine Theme and Sign code. Board members volunteer their time and unique expertise in order to ensure that Leavenworth maintains and furthers its aesthetic and economic well-being through the Old World Bavarian Alpine Theme.
The Design Review Board typically meets in the Council Chambers at City Hall at 3:00 p.m. on the second and fourth Wednesdays of the month. Meetings are held in a relaxed, collaborative atmosphere. If you are planning a project in Leavenworth, we highly encourage you to seek complimentary consultation with the Design Review Board before formal application submittal. We would like to assist early in the process to help make your project a success! Please call City Hall at 509-548-5275 for more information. Click here for a printable copy of the Design Review Board calendar which includes submission dates and meeting dates for the year.
Sign Permit Applications for signs located outside of commercial zone districts, and for temporary signs, may be obtained at City Hall, or by contacting Development Services Department staff at 509-548-5275.
Position 2. My family moved from Bavaria to the United States in the early 1950’s. I have countless relatives still living in Bavaria (my mother was one of twelve children), including a sister who lives there with her husband, children and grandchildren, and I am fortunate to have many opportunities to visit.
For more than 20 years, my husband Don and I spent many weekends in Leavenworth enjoying outdoor activities and the village shops. Then, eleven years ago we chose to make Leavenworth our permanent home, and my mother, Berta, also came to live with us. My husband and I own and operate a contracting business and specialize in home and light-commercial repair, remodel and restoration.
It is because of my love of Bavaria and the old world architecture, style and design that I applied for a position on the Design Review Board. It is my desire to help ensure that Leavenworth maintains the authentic and traditional Bavarian theme. I am honored to have been selected to this position and I look forward to working with you on your project.
Position 4. After graduation from High school and two years of College I went to work for John Hancock Financial Services. I stated working in Milwaukee, Wisconsin and transferred to Chicago for a few months. Then I received my own office in Omaha, Nebraska and worked there for 5 years before Uncle Sam called and I enlisted in the USMC and served two years.
After service I stayed in the San Francisco Bay area with John Hancock. In 1982 I took a leave of absence and traveled for three months in Europe. Upon my return I met Charlotte and after three months we were married in San Jose. My office in San Jose was closed and I took severance after 26 years of service. About a year later I went back to work with Principal Financial Group and spent 6 years with them before taking an early retirement.
We had for several years spent our vacation time in Leavenworth. Since both Charlotte and I are German we felt this was a great place to retire, and living in a valley surrounded by mountains was an added bonus. We really do feel we are in Germany.
I designed our home (Bavarian style) and we had it built and moved there in the winter of 1995. One of my passions is traveling and Charlotte loves it as well. We have made several trips to Europe, Canada, and throughout the USA – and at last count have made over 25 trips to Germany…Bavaria in particular. I can trace my German roots back to 1149 and still have relatives in Germany. We also love Austria and have spent much time there as well. I am active in the community and belong to several clubs and groups. I served on the Design Review Board several years ago and am happy to be back. Our duty is to make sure we preserve the “Bavarian theme”.
Position 1. Peter DeVries resigned his term as a 12-year member of the City Council in December, 2013. He was also previously a member of the Design Review Board prior to being elected to the City Council. His qualifications include co-writing the original Bavarian-Alpine design ordinance, has worked in Germany three to four weeks a year for nine and a half years, has traveled extensively throughout Germany, Switzerland, Norway, Sweden, and other European countries and is quite familiar with many different forms of architecture in those countries, has designed many commercial buildings, motels, apartment buildings, and homes throughout his career with the majority of those being in the Bavarian-Alpine architecture, and has been an active and committed member of the Leavenworth community for the past 26 years.
Position 3. Bob Smith has been an active member of the Leavenworth community for more than 40 years. After serving in the Air Force, Bob moved to Leavenworth in 1972 and opened a dental practice. Together, Bob and Anne threw themselves into Leavenworth’s theme to promote the economic vitality of our community. Leavenworth’s Old World Bavarian Alpine Theme inspired a keen interest in Bavarian and Austrian mountain culture and architecture, and they began traveling to Austria and Germany in the mid 1980’s collecting information, artifacts, publications, and apparel representative of the culture and architecture of Alpine Bavaria. With this passion, collected knowledge, and resources, Bob has helped to develop the City’s original Old World Bavarian Architectural Theme code and was one of the founding members of the Leavenworth Design Review Board. He was also a founding member of Projekt Bayern and helped spearhead projects such as the Mai pole, Beer wagon, park signage, and original Oktoberfest efforts. Bob designed and built the Hotel Pension Anna, which still stands as one of the most authentically Old World Bavarian designed buildings in Leavenworth.
Bob and Anne have a part time residence on the border of Austria and Germany and have traveled throughout the majority of the Alpine regions of Europe. Bob has published several books detailing traditional Bavarian Architecture and design, and has been an ongoing and valuable resource to designers, sign makers, and City staff over the years. Bob maintains his belief in Leavenworth’s Old World Bavarian Alpine Theme to promote Leavenworth’s economic prosperity. He brings a lifetime of experience, resources, and knowledge, and we are excited to have him re-join the Design Review Board.
Position 2. Todd Smith was born and raised in Leavenworth. He traveled to Bavaria and the Tyrol of Austria as a child with his family, and has returned several times over the years. Todd has embraced an interest passed down from his father for traditional German, Austrian, and Alpine cultures and architecture. Todd is a graduate of Cascade High School and attended the University of Washington School of Architecture, graduating in 2002. He then spent 8 years working for a major architectural firm in Seattle. In 2012, Todd, his wife Julie, and children Kate and Miles, moved back to Leavenworth and Todd opened his architectural business, Syndicate Smith, LLC. He has designed several new commercial buildings in Leavenworth, including the Icicle Brewery, the Ward Building, and the Bavarian Lodge Addition; commercial building remodels, including the South Restaurant update and the Elliot Building update which is currently under construction; as well as several residential projects – both in the Old World Bavarian Architectural style, and modern in design.
Todd views the City’s Old World Bavarian Alpine theme as the root economic platform for Leavenworth’s commerce. With his background in architecture and knowledge of European Alpine culture and buildings, Todd brings not only inspired building designs to Leavenworth, but also a valuable perspective to the Design Review Board.
Heidi Forchemer moved to Leavenworth in 1977 and has been a business owner in Leavenworth for over 20 years. She has always had a passion for Bavarian architecture and design. Her mother was a native of Bavaria, and Heidi has spent her life traveling throughout the alps, avidly taking photographs and soaking in the culture with family and friends. She originally joined the Design Review Board in 2000 and her desire is to help support the authenticity of the Bavarian theme in Leavenworth, which has made it the “Miracle Town” that it is today.
Construction Advisor to the Board
As frequent visitors to Leavenworth since the 1960’s, Alice and I were delighted to purchase our Leavenworth property in 1998. Soon we were building our “Bavarian style” dream home! I grew up in Seattle, working in custom home building, eventually becoming a builder myself. 35 years later, I still build custom homes, but Leavenworth is now my home base. After many trips to Germany and the Tyrol of Austria, I have a keen understanding of the old world style that our design review guidelines reflect. My goal is to help you in any way I can to understand and appreciate the history of this great style of building and how you can incorporate this theme into a successful business persona. My fellow Board members and I are here to serve you and I look forward to the opportunity.