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Demolition Permit Review - Historic Preservation

Demolition Permit Review - Historic Preservation

When is Review Required?

Demolition permit applications for non-designated buildings over 50 years old requires review and approval by the Historic Preservation program. The intent of the demolition review process is to prevent the loss of buildings that may have historic or architectural significance and to provide the time necessary to consider alternatives to demolition.

The fee for the review is based on the age of the building. Once approved, submit the demolition permit application to a Project Specialist. 

Partial Demolition vs. Full - Definition 

For the purposes of reviewing applications, Section 9-16 Definitions, B.R.C., 1981 defines "Demolition (Historic)" as an act or process that removes:

  • 50 percent or more of the exterior walls of a building as measured contiguously around the “building coverage;” or
  • 50 percent or more of the roof areas as measured in plan view; or
  • any exterior wall facing a public street, but not an act or process that removes an exterior wall facing an alley.

How Do I Get Started?

Review Fees

  • Approximately $282 for primary buildings built before or during 1939.
  • Approximately $51 for primary buildings built between 1940 and 1968 (50 years) and accessory buildings over 50 years in age.

If the building is determined to be potentially eligible for landmark designation, the application is referred to the full Landmarks Board for review. An additional fee of approximately $1,504 is required.

Levels of Review

  • Administrative: Historic Preservation staff reviews applications for accessory buildings over 50 years old and primary buildings constructed between 1940 and 1968 (50 years) to determine whether there is probable cause to believe that the building may be eligible for designation as an individual landmark.  
  • Landmark Design Review Committee (Ldrc): The Ldrc meets weekly to reviews applications for primary buildings constructed before 1940 to determine whether there is probable cause to believe that the building may be eligible for designation as an individual landmark. Visit the  Landmarks Design Review Committee page  for the most recent agenda. 
  • Landmarks Board : The Landmarks Board meets monthly and reviews demolition applications referred to the full board by the Ldrc. Visit the  Landmarks Board page  for the most recent agenda. 

Review Criteria 

Initial Review: Staff or the Ldrc determines whether there is “probable cause to believe the building may be eligible for landmark designation.”

Landmarks Board Review: The criteria for the Landmarks Board’s review of a demolition permit is found in 9-11-23(f) B.R.C. 1981:

  1. The eligibility of the building for designation as an individual landmark consistent with the purposes and standards in Sections 9-11-1 and 9-11-2, B.R.C. 1981;
  2. The relationship of the building to the character of the neighborhood as an established and definable area;
  3. The reasonable condition of the building; and
  4. The reasonable projected cost of restoration or repair.

When considering the condition of the building and the projected cost of restoration or repair as set forth in paragraphs (3) and (4) above, the board may not consider deterioration caused by unreasonable neglect.

Process - Landmarks Board Hearing 

The Landmarks Board may 1) issue the demolition permit, 2) place a stay of up to 180 days to explore alternatives to demolition or 3) Initiate landmark designation.

  • If a stay is placed on the application, the time starts from the date the hearing fee was paid. During the stay, staff and 2 members of the Landmarks Board typically meet with the property owner/applicant to discuss alternatives to demolition, including incorporation of the building(s) into redevelopment plans, preservation of the building(s), benefits/responsibilities of landmark designation (including variances and tax credits), and/or relocation of the building(s).
  • During the 180-day stay, the board may vote to hold a landmark initiation hearing, or to lift the stay and issue the demolition permit application. If the board takes no action during the stay, the demolition permit automatically issues.   

​Expiration 

The historic preservation signature is valid for 180 days and cannot be extended. If the application isn’t finalized within this period, a new demolition permit application is required.

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