Historic Preservation Ordinance Update

In March, 2021, the City Council adopted an update to the City’s Historic Preservation Ordinance to address community concerns and ensure that it reflects best practices in the field of historic preservation. Below is a summary of the major changes that were made to the Ordinance, as well as a link to download the full Ordinance or view it online.

Updated Ordinance

Download the updated Historic Preservation Ordinance orview it online here.

Major Ordinance Changes

  • HISTORIC RESOURCE EVALUATIONS:  Major projects affecting buildings 45 years of age or older will now require a historic resource evaluation before a permit can be issued for the proposed project.  If the building is identified as a historic resource as a result of an evaluation, a Certificate of Appropriateness will also be required for the proposed project before a permit can be issued.  See below for the updated list of major projects.  To avoid substantial delays, it is recommended that applicants submit an application for a Historic Resource Evaluation prior to developing and submitting plans for a building permit; however, if plans for a major project are submitted for building permit plan check, DHP staff will review them to determine if an evaluation is required and may conduct an evaluation during the plan check process or require submittal of a separate application.  Please be advised that some permits that would normally be issued over-the-counter may be delayed if an evaluation is required.
  • DEMOLITIONS AND MAJOR PROJECTS AFFECTING ELIGIBLE, UNDESIGNATED HISTORIC RESOURCES:  A Certificate of Appropriateness is required for major projects affecting eligible, undesignated historic resources.  See below for the updated list of major projects.  You may also search our database to determine if a property has already been identified as an eligible historic resource.  If a property is not found in the database, or an evaluation in the database is over 5 years old, a Historic Resource Evaluation will be required to determine if the property is an eligible historic resource.  Certificate of Appropriateness applications may be disapproved if the project is found to be inconsistent with the Secretary of the Interior’s Standards  and, for properties in eligible landmark or historic districts, the Design Guidelines for Historic Districts .
  • MAJOR PROJECTS:  Below is the updated list of major projects which require a Certificate of Appropriateness for designated and eligible, undesignated historic resources.
    • Any demolition or relocation of a historic resource, or removal of a character-defining feature of a historic resource. This includes character-defining interior or exterior fixtures designed by the firm of Greene and Greene and interior character-defining features of designated historic monuments, as specified in the designation report.
    • Any undertaking that significantly alters or changes the street-facing or primary elevation of a historic resource, including changes to materials or muntin patterning of windows and doors or to the sizes of their openings, the application of new exterior wall cladding or coating which changes the appearance, design, or texture of a property, and the addition of dormers and other architectural features.
    • Any addition of square footage to a primary building elevation.
    • Construction of a new primary structure in a designated or eligible landmark or historic district.
    • Demolition of a non-contributing resource in a designated landmark or historic district.
    • Construction of a new house or addition greater than 500 square feet on a non-contributing property in a designated landmark or historic district that results in the total square footage of the house exceeding 35% above the median house size of all properties within a 500 foot radius of the subject property, calculated as outlined in Section 17.22.050.E and also excluding properties outside of the landmark or historic district boundaries.
    • Any addition of a height greater than that of the existing building, if the addition is visible from the street.
    • Substantial removal (i.e., generally more than 50%) or replacement of exterior cladding on a street-facing (including corner side) or primary elevation.
    • Construction of an accessory structure in front of the primary structure.
    • Any undertaking determined major by the Director.

Note:  The Ordinance also includes a list of Minor Projects which require a Certificate of Appropriateness for designated historic resources only.

  • VIOLATIONS OF THE HISTORIC PRESERVATION ORDINANCE:  The penalties for violating the Historic Preservation Ordinance were clarified and simplified.  Initiating a project without approval of a Certificate of Appropriateness required in the Ordinance will result in issuance of a stop-work order and submittal of an application for a Certificate of Appropriateness.  As part of that process, modifications to or restoration of already completed work may be required if it is found to be inconsistent with the applicable design guidelines.  Time limits were established to bring the property into compliance and other penalties may also apply.
  • OTHER CHANGES:  Although these are the major Ordinance changes that will affect most property owners, many other more minor and technical changes were made to the Ordinance.  Please click the link above to review the Ordinance in its entirety.


Staff Contact

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