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Obtaining a Permit in Historic Districts

Obtaining A Permit in Historic Districts .pdf

HISTORIC DISTRICT COMMISSION


The Detroit Historic District Commission was adopted by Detroit Ordinance 161-11 to insure the
preservation of historically and culturally significant areas of the city’s manmade environment. The
City Council designates Historic Districts. The appointed Commission consists of seven, unpaid
citizen members and is staffed by the City of Detroit.

A building permit is required for any exterior changes to a building or site in a designated or
proposed historic district. The Historic District Commission administers a building permit application
review procedure and may approve, deny, or give notice to proceed based on the appropriateness of
proposed work in Historic Districts. In addition to permit application reviews, the Commission is also
involved in various other matters concerning historic properties, preservation programs and historic
district designation proposals.

A building permit application provides a way for the Historic District Commission to review proposed
exterior changes. The Commission’s review of the application provides a forum for assisting and
guiding property owners in the preparation of appropriate improvement proposals. The building
permit is issued by the Buildings,Safety Engineering & Environmental (BSEE) upon report from the
Historic District Commission.

WORK REQUIRING A BUILDING PERMIT IN AN HISTORIC DISTRICT

1. Excavations.

2. New construction or erection: Buildings, fences, walls, other structures, significant landscape
features, pavement or driveways.

3. Removal: Architectural features, significant landscape features.

4. Reconstructions.

5. Alteration including new roofs or new windows.

6. Surface treatment change, including siding replacement.

7. Color change by painting or other.

8. Demolition: Structure or structure portions.

HOW TO GET A BUILDING PERMIT IN AN HISTORIC DISTRICT
1. Owner or contractor prepares and submits building permit application and drawings,
describing work in detail, to Detroit Historic District Commission.

2. Preliminary zoning and building code review by BSEE (if the work involves new construction,
alterations, or demolition).

3. Commission staff discusses recommended or required changes with applicant as necessary.

4. Hearing held by the Historic District Commission and the Commission approves or denies
application.

5. BSEE issues or denies permit (permit may be denied if work does not conform to current
building codes).

6. Building permit fee is submitted when permit is issued.

7. Inspections must be made to complete permit process.

8. Owner or contractor is issued Certificate of Acceptance or Certificate of Occupancy
(depending on scope of work) upon completion of permit process.