The preservation ordinance provides criteria for alterations, allowing Boulder's historic buildings and neighborhoods to adapt and change with the times, while protecting their historic character.

Responding to the loss of several important historic buildings in the 1960s and early 1970s, Historic Boulder, Inc. drafted a historic preservation ordinance, which City Council unanimously adopted in 1974. The ordinance established an official municipal process to preserve and protect the historic, architectural, and environmental assets that contribute to Boulder’s unique sense of place.

With the adoption of the ordinance in 1974, Boulder became one of the first cities in Colorado with the authority to designate and prevent the demolition or destruction of historic, architectural, and cultural resources considered valuable to the community. Today, more than 30 communities in Colorado have similar historic preservation ordinances, many of which are based on Boulder's model.

Four Focus Areas

  • Designation of landmarks and historic districts.
  • Review and approval authority of proposed alterations to these buildings, and to new construction or proposed demolition in these areas.
  • Review of applications for demolition or moving of non-landmarked buildings over 50 years old to prevent the loss of buildings that may have historic or architectural significance and to provide the time necessary to initiate designation or to consider alternatives to demolition of the building.
  • In order to preserve the historic integrity of the individual landmarks and properties within historic districts, the historic preservation ordinance requires prior approval of exterior changes to buildings or sites, or proposed demolitions. Proposals must meet the purposes and standards outlined in the historic preservation code, and adopted design guidelines. These tasks are carried out by the Landmarks Board.

Administrative Regulations

The Landmarks Board is permitted by the Historic Preservation Ordinance of 1974 to adopt rules and regulations as it deems necessary for its own organization and procedures. This capacity has been primarily used to establish design guidelines for historic districts and individual landmarks. The following administrative rules and regulations have been adopted by the Landmarks Board to help evaluate each potential designation in a consistent and equitable manner.