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New online certificate of appropriateness application available for historic properties and districts

Posted Feb. 28, 2019

Property owners in historic districts of Fort Worth are required to obtain a certificate of appropriateness for any exterior work on a property located in a historic district or an individually designated structure. To make the application process easier, residents and contractors can now use a new online application tool for both residential and commercial projects. And, it’s mobile-friendly.

“This is a positive benefit for everyone in Fort Worth’s preservation community because it will enhance application submittal, project tracking and communication between the city and the preservation community,” said Justin Newhart, senior planner for historic preservation and urban design.

Historic districts in Fort Worth are areas or neighborhoods with a common theme based on architectural style, historical development patterns, cultural identity or social and economic historical patterns.

Changes to historic properties, including exterior alterations, new construction and demolition, require review by the Preservation and Design Section to ensure that changes comply with the Historic District Guidelines and the Historic Preservation Ordinance. Any work undertaken on the exterior of a property requires a certificate of appropriateness before beginning the work. The work must meet the Secretary of the Interior’s Standards for the Treatment of Historic Properties and local district guidelines, where applicable.

Design standards address alterations, additions, demolition and new construction that affects a historic property or historic district. Most work undertaken on a historic property or within a historic district is eligible for the Historic Site Tax Exemption program, provided the work meets design guidelines. Residents should contact staff for more information on the program, which offers a 10-year tax abatement for rehabilitation projects.

Changes to historic properties

A certificate of appropriateness is an approval from the Historic and Cultural Landmarks Commission or historic preservation officer. A COA must be obtained before any changes to the exterior of the property, including changes to any of the following:

  • Walls.
  • Roofs.
  • Siding.
  • Windows.
  • Exterior doors.
  • Fences.
  • Porch or porch columns.
  • Driveways or walkways.
  • Decks.
  • Painting masonry.
  • Foundations.

In addition to the COA, property owners are responsible for obtaining all other required permits for the work that they propose to carry out on the property.

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