Historic Properties
Frequently Asked Questions

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Nominating Historic Properties

  • What is the difference between National Register designation and Local Register designation?
  • National Register designation is our nation's official list of historic properties or resources worthy of preservation. A local listing protects a community's historic properties and areas through a design process outlined in section 4-2400 of the Springfield Zoning Ordinance.

  • What is historic designation?
  • Section 3-2300. (Landmarks Board) of the Springfield Zoning Ordinance establishes the duties and responsibilities of the Landmarks Board.

    Section 4-2400. L-Landmarks Board establishes the administrative process for the identification and protection of historic properties that are valuable assets to the city. Springfield's Historic Register booklet contains a list of sites, objects, or districts that have been honored with historic designation and are considered significant or valuable to the city, region, state, or nation.

    The Springfield Historic Register was first established in 1976. The current list includes the dates of City Council approval and National and/or Local Register designation for selected sites and districts within the Springfield City limits. Historic property designation sets forth procedures and criteria for the protection of publicly or privately owned resources. Historic resources may be residential or commercial, monumental or simple. Designation may be as an Historic Landmark, part of an Historic District, or an Interior Landmark. These designations may not be altered or demolished unless a Certificate of Appropriateness or Certifications of Economic Hardship is granted by the Landmarks Board.

  • What is the City of Springfield Landmarks Board?
  • The purpose of the Landmarks Board is to help promote the creation and use of Historic register resources for the educational, cultural, economic, and general welfare of the public through preservation, protection and regulation. The board advises City Council, the Planning and Zoning Commission, the Park Board, and the City Manager relating to the identification, protection, retention and preservation of historical sites in the City of Springfield. This nine-member board reviews applications for permits and renovation design within the Commercial Street Historic District, the Walnut Street Urban Conservation Districts, and the individual historic sites in the Mid-Town Historic District and throughout the community. Landmarks Board meetings are held every other Wednesday, City Hall, Council Chambers, 830 Boonville Avenue. All members are volunteers who are required under Certified Local Government (CLG) regulations to receive a minimum of two hours of training per year.

  • What kinds of changes will be reviewed by the Landmarks Board?

  • Any project that requires a building permit, or any work that will affect the exterior appearance of a designated historic property needs to be approved by the Landmarks Board. Examples of projects requiring review include but are not limited to:

    • Moving or demolition of any building
    • Additions to existing designated historic buildings
    • new construction (i.e. garages, outbuildings, porches, decks)
    • Addition of fencing
    • Enclosure or removal of porches
    • Changes in exterior building materials (i.e. roofing, siding, window cladding)
    • Adding dormers
    • Removing historic exterior trim pieces and chimneys
    • Installation of new driveways, sidewalks, or retaining walls
    • Installation of replacement window and/or door treatments

    If you are considering any alterations to your historic property, contact the Landmarks Board city staff person. Design guideline booklets are available for the Commercial Street Historic District, Walnut Street Historic District, and the Mid-Town Historic District.

  • Who do I call for more information about historic designation?
  • For more information regarding historic designation and Springfield's Historic Register, contact a member of the Landmarks Board, the Planning Staff, or a member of the State of Missouri Historic Preservation Office.

  • How do I nominate properties for local historic designation?
  • Contact the City Planning Department at 417.864.1611 for an application. Nominations will be heard first by the Landmarks Board. If approved, they are then forwarded to the City Council for final approval.

  • If my area is proposed for designation, do I have a say in the process?
  • Contact the City Planning Department at 417.864.1611 for an application. Nominations will be heard first by the Landmarks Board. If approved, they are then forwarded to the City Council for final approval.

  • If my area is proposed for designation, do I have a say in the process?
  • Yes. Public comment is encouraged. Property owners in a proposed Historic District will be notified that their property is being included for designation.

Owning Historic Properties

  • What the benefits to me as an owner of historic property?
  • Locally designated properties and districts are better protected from unmanaged change. This protection is similar to that provided by modern home associations. Nationally, property values have been stabilized and often increased as a result of local historic designation and the added protection it brings.

  • Will designation mean big changes for my property or my neighborhood?
  • No. Designation will protect and enhance the existing character of a property, neighborhood or commercial area. In addition, locally designated properties and districts will also benefit from the priority they receive in local incentive programs and public improvement projects.

  • As an owner of a designated historic property, can I still make changes or additions to my property?
  • Yes. Designation does not prohibit new construction. By reviewing major changes to historic properties, the Landmarks Board ensures that property changes are appropriate to the history and character of a property while meeting the modern-day needs of residents and owners.

  • Will I be required to restore my property?
  • No. You will not be required to make changes to your property as a result of designation. However, if you wish to restore your property, the Landmarks Board can provide design concept review before your Certificate of Appropriateness application is filed.

Altering Historic Properties

  • How will I know if the type of work I am planning is appropriate for my property?
  • Design guidelines for designated districts are available from the Planning Department. Contact city staff for a copy of the guidelines that apply to your district 417.864.1611. City staff and the Landmarks Board can also provide technical assistance and access to many publications that can assist property owners in project planning (i.e. mortar replacement in historic buildings, new exterior additions, repair of wooden windows, conserving energy, etc.). Technical Preservation Briefs are developed by the US Department of the Interior, and are available for sale at the address below. The City of Springfield Planning Department is also available to assist you in obtaining a list of Preservation Briefs.

    Technical Preservation Services
    National Park Service
    Heritage Preservation Services
    1849 C Street NW, NC-330, Washington DC 20240

  • Is interior work or routine maintenance reviewed?
  • No. Interior work and routine outdoor maintenance such as exterior painting and landscaping will not require review, with the exception of Interior Landmarks.

  • How do I request approval of my project by the Landmarks Board?
  • Project approval is requested by completing an application for a Certificate of Appropriateness and submitting it to the city staff person assigned to the Landmarks Board. Applications are also available at the Zoning and Subdivision Counter, Main Floor, Busch Building, 840 Boonville or by calling the Landmarks Board staff person 417.864.1611. With your application, you will be asked to submit documentation that may include photographs, a written description of proposed work, design and material specifications, and in some cases scaled drawings,. The more detailed the material submitted, the more likely the Board is to reach a quick decision on your application.

  • How long does it take for the Landmarks Board to review a project?
  • The Landmarks Board meets every other Wednesday to review applications for Certificates of Appropriateness. Complete applications that are received 15 days prior to the next meeting will be scheduled for review at the next regular meeting. Typically, a decision is made at the time the application is reviewed. Lack of supporting documentation slows the process.

  • Can I appeal the decision of the Landmarks Board?
  • Yes. If the Landmarks Board denies a Certificate of Appropriateness, you will have the opportunity to revise your proposal, using the recommendations of the Landmarks Board. The Landmarks Board denial can be appealed to the Board of Adjustment.

  • Can work conducted with a Certificate of Appropriateness be stopped?
  • Yes. Section 4-2403 (B) of the Zoning Ordinance states that building permits involving items requiring a Certificate of Appropriateness shall not be issued by the City without approval by the Landmarks Board. If the Director of Building Development Services deems the work is inappropriate and does not comply with the Landmarks ordinance, a stop work order is issued in writing. The Director of Building Development Services has the authority to refer to the Landmarks Board and building or demolition permit application that may impact any Historic Landmark or Historic District.

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Contact Us

Busch Municipal Building
Second Floor
840 Boonville Avenue
Springfield, MO 65802

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