The Mission of the Historic Designation Advisory Board is to advise City Council on matters relating to historic preservation, and in particular, proposals for the designation of local historic districts. The staff of the Advisory Board is able to provide citizens with assistance in preservation questions and concerns and serve as a resource to the community in matters pertaining to historic buildings.

The procedures and regulations for historic preservation within the City of Detroit are described in Chapter 25, Section 2 of the Detroit City Code, “Historic Landmarks and Districts.”  The Historic Designation Advisory Board was established in 1976, and carries out responsibilities described in Michigan’s Local Historic Districts Act of 1970, as amended, legislation which enables the creation of historic districts at the municipal level.  In addition, the Historic Designation Advisory Board maintains the City of Detroit’s Certified Local Government status, which allows the city to receive federal funding made available by the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966.

The Historic Designation Advisory Board consists of twelve members, nine of whom are appointed to three year terms by City Council.  According to the State of Michigan’s Certified Local Government requirements, the board shall contain at least one member who is an architect, archaeologist, historian, or architectural historian, and the remaining members shall be, to the extent available, professional members from related disciplines such as cultural geography, planning, real estate, law, and business.  At least one of these members is required to be a representative of an existing historic preservation organization.  These members serve on a pro bono basis.  The other three members are city department heads, or their representatives, serving ex officio.  Two ad hoc members are appointed by City Council in conjunction with studies of particular proposed historic districts.  The board has a permanent, full-time staff.