Permit Application Process
outside work to my house needs to be done, do I first contact a contractor
or the Historical Commission?
The Commission encourages property owners to contact the Commission staff
whenever you are thinking of doing work to your property. The staff can
provide guidance and information that may help you when you hire a contractor
or architect. However, a property owner can certainly hire a contractor
to submit an application to the Commission.
proposed work requires a building permit? eg. If I need to fix a leaky
roof or get re-pointing, must I obtain approval?
Any work that alters the exterior appearance of a property requires the
approval of the Historical Commission. Basic home repairs, such as fixing
leaky roofs or replacing individual porch floorboards, so not require
a permit because they are not altering the overall appearance of any particular
element or part. Re-pointing requires a permit to ensure that the mortar
is soft enough for the historic brick or stone (see page one).
the Commission ever provide advice and guidance for a property owner before
a permit is applied for and the work takes place? Is there a fee for this?
Must one use a contractor from your list?
Property owners are encouraged to contact the Commission staff before
applying for a permit. All of the services provided by the Commission
are free of charge. The Commission does not maintain a list of approved
contractors and a property owner is not required to use a specific contractor.
will regulate work done on a property to make sure it is done per permit?
Enforcement of building permits is performed by the Commission staff and
building inspectors from the Department of Licenses and Inspections.
will someone know if historic permission was granted? Are permits posted?
The Department of Licenses and Inspections requires that all building
permits be posted in the front window of the property.
you address the rumor or belief held by some neighbors that one needs
to offer a "bribe" to get permission for a project?
Accepting bribes of any kind is a crime. The members of the Historical
Commission, its Committees and its staff absolutely do not accept money,
goods or services. If any one of these members should ever solicit or
accept a bribe from you, you should contact the police.
all of the recent improvements here, why do we need City employees other
than L&I to tell us how to do things perhaps discourage work because
of red tape and higher cost?
The Department of Licenses and Inspections reviews permits to verify that
work to a property conforms to the building code, especially fire codes
and other public safety regulations. The Historical Commission's mission
is to protect the historic fabric of resources that prove important historically,
architecturally, culturally and socially to the city, state and nation.
Therefore the two departments review permits for different reasons. Without
designation a property owner can perform work that meets the building
code, yet damage the historic integrity of a property, such as enclosing
or removing a porch, stuccoing over historic brickwork, or installing
aluminum capping over ornate cornices. These changes, especially if they
occur on numerous buildings in a neighborhood, erode the historic integrity
of the area. Historic designation does not necessarily discourage work
in an area. On the contrary, many neighborhoods, when the municipality
recognizes them as historic, take great pride in the recognition and do
more work to maintain the historic nature of the area.
these questions address very specific situations. Without knowing the
subject property's address or having photographs showing the existing
conditions, it is difficult to give answers that take into account every
instance that may occur on every building. If you have any follow-up questions,
please do not hesitate to contact the Historical Commission directly at
were grouped into broad categories. Click the category to see that group
of questions and answers.
| Building Permit Application Process | Designation
Enforcement | Tax
Incentives & Economic Hardship | Impact
Neighborhood Transformation Initiative | University
Ethics | Comment
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