Historic Designation Process

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What Can Be Designated?

Owners of historic buildings, structures, objects, landscape features, archaeological sites/zones, and other improvements that are at least 50 years old may apply to locally designate the resource. All owners must consent to the local designation application. There is no cost to apply, the City picks up the cost of the Designation Report if the Historic and Architectural Review Board decides to move forward with the designation process.

In order to be considered for a local historic designation and inclusion in the Melbourne Register of Historic Places, the resource must meet the following criteria:

  • Is significant in Melbourne's history, architecture, archaeology or culture.
  • Possesses integrity of location, design, setting, materials, workmanship or association.
  • Meets one or more of the following designation criteria:
  • Is associated with events that have made significant contributions to our history.
  • Is associated with the lives of persons significant in our past.
  • Embodies the characteristics of a distinctive architectural style, construction style, or period; or were built by a prominent designer/builder.
  • Yields, or is likely to yield, historical or pre-historical information.
  • Is designated on the National Register of Historic Places.
  • Is related or is part of a landscape, park, environmental or other distinctive feature tied to a historical, cultural, or architectural motif; or has easily identifiable visual features and contributes to the distinctive quality of such neighborhood or the city.
See City Code, Chapter 20, Article VIII, Section 20-266 for additional information on the designation process and criteria.

The Designation Process

  1. Petition – The owner submits a written petition to the Historic and Architectural Review Board (HARB) to consider the designation. There is no fee to apply.
  2. Preliminary Review – The HARB either accepts or denies the petition. If accepted, the HARB sets a date for a public hearing and directs staff to complete the Designation Report.
  3. Designation Report – The City's Historic Preservation Officer (HPO) prepares the Designation Report and recommends approval or denial based on the designation criteria.
  4. Notification of Public Hearing – A notice of public hearing is published in the newspaper and mailed, together with the Designation Report, to the property owner. Surrounding property owners are also notified.
  5. Historic and Architectural Review Board Hearing – A notice of public hearing is published in the newspaper and mailed, together with the Designation Report, to the property owner. Surrounding property owners are also notified.
  6. City Council Hearing – The City Council approves, denies or approves with conditions the designation by resolution. If approved, the property gets listed on the Melbourne Register of Historic Places.
  7. Effect of Designation – Exterior changes to the designated landmark requiring a building permit will first need to obtain a Certificate of Appropriateness (COA) from the HARB or HPO. The purpose of the COA is to ensure the change is consistent with the Secretary of the Interior's Standards for Rehabilitation.

Benefits of Historic Designation

The Economic Benefits
  • Stabilizes and improves property values in historic areas
  • Grants eligibility for property tax abatement programs
  • May reduce the cost of construction through the reuse of existing structures
  • Supports cultural tourism

The Cultural Benefits

  • Fosters civic pride
  • Combats urban decay
  • Retains the history and authenticity of a neighborhood by:
    • Commemorating the past
    • Preserving the texture, craftsmanship and style of bygone eras
    • Creating pedestrian and visitor appeal
    • Enabling the community to identify specific buildings for protection/preservation

The Environmental Benefits

  • Saves energy by reusing existing structures and existing materials, thereby reducing:
  • Hazardous waste and demolition debris
  • Need for new material

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