If I need to replace my front steps or sidewalk, will I be required to obtain a Certificate of Appropriateness (COA)?

Replacement of front steps or sidewalks will probably not need a COA, as long as the replacement does not fundamentally alter the appearance of the property. For example, according to The Secretary of the Interior's Standards for Rehabilitation of Historic Buildings (the “Standards”) for replacing porch steps, it is permissible to use “…non-wooden steps and flooring where wood will not hold the paint of an Owner’s choice.” The ordinance states that “In relatively minor matters of historic detail, flexibility will be allowed…” unless the listing is more restrictive than the Standards approved by City Council. Reference Section 158.08 (D) (1)

The City of Bowling Green historic preservation ordinance is based on using The Secretary of the Interior's Standards for Rehabilitation of Historic Buildings. Some communities create their own guidelines or create guidelines for specific eras or neighborhoods to match existing architecture. At this time, the HPC and City Council decided to use the Standards, which were created by the federal government and are the standard for historic tax credit projects. This seemed like the best way to begin historic preservation in the City as a universally accepted standards used for historic projects. 

Guidelines for Preserving, Rehabilitating, Restoring, and Reconstructing Historic Buildings (PDF)

The Secretary of the Interior's Standards for the Treatment of Historic Properties (36 CFR Part 68, 1995) consists of four treatment standards—Preservation, Rehabilitation, Restoration, and Reconstruction— and are regulatory for NPS Grants–in–Aid programs. The Secretary of the Interior's Standards for Rehabilitation (36 CFR Part 67, 1990), which are included in the Treatment Standards, are regulatory for the Federal Historic Preservation Tax Incentives program and are the criteria used to determine if a project qualifies as “a certified rehabilitation.” The 1990 and the 1995 versions of the Rehabilitation Standards convey the same intent and provide the same guidance, although they are worded slightly differently, and “shall” replaces “will” in the 1995 version. The Secretary of the Interior's Standards for the Treatment of Historic Properties, in particular the Standards for Rehabilitation, are intended as general guidance for work on all historic properties, are widely used, and have been adopted at the Federal, State, and local levels. Rehabilitation will likely be referenced for most projects to review COA’a for exterior projects. 

The Secretary of the Interior's Standards for the Treatment of Historic Properties: Preservation as a Treatment and Standards for Preservation

The Secretary of the Interior's Standards for the Treatment of Historic Properties: Rehabilitation as a Treatment and Standards for Rehabilitation 

The Secretary of the Interior's Standards for the Treatment of Historic Properties: Restoration as a Treatment and Standards for Restoration

The Secretary of the Interior's Standards for the Treatment of Historic Properties: Reconstruction as a Treatment and Standards for Reconstruction

Show All Answers

1. Why is Historic Preservation Important to our community?
2. Where do I find the Historic and Architectural Preservation ordinance?
3. What does the Historic and Architectural Preservation Ordinance do?
4. What is required to follow the Historic and Architectural Preservation ordinance?
5. What is the difference between a National Register Listing and a Local Listing?
6. How do I list (locally designate) my property or a district?
7. What are the benefits of my home being locally designated?
8. What are the benefits of my commercial or multi-unit structure being locally designated?
9. Is a non-contributing property or building in a Historic District subject to the same rules as contributing properties?
10. How does the Certificate of Appropriateness (COA) process work?
11. Can I appeal the Historic Preservation Commission’s decision on my Certificate of Appropriateness (COA) application?
12. How long is a Certificate of Appropriateness (COA) valid?
13. What are examples of major exterior work reviewed through a Certificate of Appropriateness (COA)?
14. What are examples of exterior work NOT regulated through a Certificate of Appropriate (COA)?
15. Is a Certificate of Appropriateness (COA) required to repair or replace an exterior, non-historic, deteriorated wooden architectural feature on my historically significant house?
16. For a resident considering a Certificate of Appropriateness (COA) request for major reconstruction of a front porch, is it necessary to appear in front of the HPC?
17. If I need to replace my front steps or sidewalk, will I be required to obtain a Certificate of Appropriateness (COA)?
18. What restrictions will be required for landscaping?
19. Will I need to conform to historic standards when planting trees or shrubs?
20. Can I install a central air conditioning unit or window air conditioners?
21. Does a swimming pool need a Certificate of Appropriateness (COA) approval?
22. Is a Certificate of Appropriateness (COA) required to demolish a historically significant locally listed property, whether listed individually or within a historic district?