Historic Preservation Review Standards

Depending on the nature of the project, applications are reviewed under one of the following sets of standards. 

Standards for Review of Alterations to Contributing and Landmark Properties

(Click to view Chapter 4 of the Historic Resources Design Manual, which provides additional information on these review standards)

In considering an application for a Certificate of Appropriateness involving alterations to landmark and contributing structures, the Historic Preservation Board applies the following general review standards:
  • Standard #1: Every reasonable effort shall be made to provide a compatible use for the property which requires minimal alteration to the character-defining features of the structure, object or site and its environment or to use a property for its originally intended purpose.
  • Standard #2: The distinguishing original qualities or character of a structure, object or site and its environment shall not be destroyed. The removal or alteration of any historic material or distinctive architectural features should be avoided when possible.
  • Standard #3: All sites, structures and objects shall be recognized as products of their own time, place and use. Alterations that have no historical basis or create a false sense of historical development such as adding conjectural features or elements from other properties shall be discouraged.
  • Standard #4: Changes which may have taken place in the course of time are evidence of the history and development of a structure, object or site and its environment. Changes that have acquired significance in their own right, shall not be destroyed.
  • Standard #5: Distinctive features, finishes, and construction techniques or examples of skilled craftsmanship which characterize a structure, object or site shall be treated with sensitivity.
  • Standard #6: Deteriorated historic features shall be repaired rather than replaced wherever feasible. Where the severity of deterioration requires replacement of a distinctive feature, the new feature should match the feature being replaced in composition, design, texture and other visual qualities and, where possible, materials. Repair or replacement of missing historic features should be based on accurate duplications of features, substantiated by documentary, physical or pictorial evidence rather than on conjectural designs or the availability of different architectural elements from other structures or objects.
  • Standard #7: The surface cleaning of structures and objects, if appropriate, shall be undertaken with the gentlest means possible. Chemical or physical treatments, such as sandblasting, that cause damage to historic materials shall not be undertaken.
  • Standard #8: Every reasonable effort shall be made to protect and preserve significant archeological resources affected by or adjacent to any project. If resources must be disturbed, mitigation measures shall be undertaken.
  • Standard #9: Contemporary design for alterations and additions to existing properties shall not be discouraged when such alterations and additions do not destroy significant cultural, historical, architectural or archeological materials that characterize the property. The new work shall be differentiated from the old and shall be compatible with the size, scale, color, material and character of the property, neighborhood or environment.
  • Standard #10: Wherever possible, new additions or alterations to structures and objects shall be undertaken in such a manner that, if such additions or alterations were to be removed in the future, the essential form and integrity of the historic property would be unimpaired.

Standards for Review of Alterations to or Redesign of Noncontributing Structures

"Sec. 14-651.5. Standards for review of alternations to or redesign of noncontributing structures.
(a) In considering an application for a certificate of appropriateness involving alteration(s) to a noncontributing structure the standards for review of alterations set forth in section 14-650 shall apply as applicable. The intent of the review shall be to ensure no further erosion of any existing architectural character of the subject structure determined to be significant by the historic preservation board and, where practicable, to guide projects toward a more compatible relationship with the surrounding context. (b) In considering an application for a certificate of appropriateness involving comprehensive redesign of a noncontributing structure, the standards for review of construction set forth in section 14-651 shall apply. (Ord. No. 165-08/09, 3-16-09)"

Standards for Review of New Construction

(Click here to view Chapter 5 of the Historic Resources Design Manual, which identifies and illustrates the Historic Preservation ordinance's standards for review of new construction.)

Standards for Review of Signage

(Click here to view standards and illustrated design guidelines for signage installations in historic districts)