Certificates of Appropriateness

If you propose to make modifications to a property (structure and site included) that is designated as a local historic property you will need to follow the steps for obtaining a certificate of appropriateness (COA) prior to pulling necessary permits and beginning work. To determine whether the property is a locally designated historic property, follow the instructions here.

What is a Certificate of Appropriateness?

A Certificate of Appropriateness (COA) is an official document which certifies that any exterior changes to a property located in a local historic district or a property designated as a local historic landmark are in keeping with the design review criteria established for each district or landmark. This requirement applies to all properties located within a local historic district, regardless of age or significance, and to all local historic landmarks.


The requirement for a COA applies to all properties, regardless of age or significance, that are located in a designated local historic district or designated as local historic landmarks.

Any change to the exterior of a property or to a site requires a COA. This includes, but is not limited to:

  • Above-ground utilities
  • Alterations and additions
  • Doors
  • Landscaping
  • Lighting
  • New construction
  • Paving
  • Restoration of buildings, walls and fences
  • Roofing
  • Siding
  • Signage
  • Windows

A COA is required regardless of whether the modification to the exterior or site is visible, and regardless of whether or not a building permit is required for the work.

Process and Application for a COA

The COA process is described on the Process for COAs page and in the video below. Applications can be found on the Certificate of Appropriateness Applications and Application Materials page, which is also linked from the Process for COAs page.