Frequently Asked Questions

How Can I be sure the work I plan to do requires a COA?
If you are unsure whether or not the work you plan requires a COA , contact the Historic Preservation Office prior to beginning any work.  The Historic Preservation Commission (HPC) does not review any interior work, unless it changes the exterior appearance.  Painting the exterior does not require a COA, unless the exterior has not been painted before.

Who reviews the COA?

Some COAs are reviewed by the full HPC. COAs that are for routine maintenance or minor work might be reviewed by the commission staff person. The process to turn in a completed COA is the same either way.

What happens if I don't follow the HPC guidelines?

Depending on the severity of the inconsistent work a citation or stop-work order may be issued. The HPC has the authority to require that you reverse any work inconsistent with the historic district's design guidelines.

Do I need an architect?

No architect is needed; however, architectural drawings or detailed sketches and/or photographs may be required.

Do I need to be present at the HPC meeting when my COA request is being considered?  Can some speak on my behalf at the HPC meeting?

No, you need not be present for your proposal to be considered; however, it would be beneficial if you or a representative were present to answer any questions regarding your project.  Applications without a representative may be denied or tabled if the commission has questions.

How long will this process take?

Some projects can be approved at the staff level and can take as little as a couple of days.  Other projects require full commission review which will lengthen approval time.

Do I have to complete my construction work within a specific time frame?

Certificates of Appropriateness are generally valid for six months to initiate work.  Work should be completed within 18 months.  During this time, the work may be inspected for COA compliance.

My property is listed as non-contributing within the district, do I still have to go through design review?

Yes, all properties within the district, regardless of listing status, have to go through design review.  

How far ahead do I have to submit my COA application prior to the next meeting to be reviewed?

Completed applications must be submitted three weeks prior to the next meeting.  The HPC meets the 2nd Thursday of each month.  Incomplete applications will not be placed on the agenda and may be returned.  The commission will review complete applications and a decision will be made according to due process.

 For more information contact:  Lisa Thrift, Historic Preservation Coordinator, (334)705-5155, [email protected]