Local Historic Landmarks

A local historic landmark is a property so-designated by the City Council or the Board of County Commissioners as a property of special significance in terms of its historical, prehistorical, architectural, or cultural importance; and that possesses integrity of design, setting, workmanship, materials, feeling, and association. Property owners can apply to have their property designated as a local historic landmark.

For additional information, contact Karla Rosenberg in the Planning Department by em​ail or call 919-560-4137, ext. 28259​.

Designation Process Overview

A pre-application and study list has been established for local historic landmarks. The pre-application for local landmark status must be submitted and approved by the Historic Preservation Commission (HPC), resulting in listing of the property on the local landmark study list, prior to application for local landmark designation.

Once the property is listed on the local landmark study list all applicants are required to set up a pre-submittal meeting with Planning Department staff to go over the full application requirements and review process. This meeting can be conducted any time as long as the application is submitted between January 1 and April 1 each year. Planning staff will review the landmark designation application for completeness at the time of submittal.

Application Review

The application will be reviewed internally following submittal. The staff will then send a report of staff's recommendation on the application to the State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO) for its 30-day review. Once SHPO makes a recommendation, staff will include this recommendation into the staff report.

The updated staff report and full application will be forwarded to the HPC for its review and recommendation. If both staff and the HPC recommend against the application, it will not be forwarded to the governing body for review.

Once HPC provides a recommendation, the staff report for all applications that have received a recommendation of approval by staff and HPC will be updated for governing body review. A public hearing will be set for the appropriate governing body to review the historic landmark applications and make a final decision.

Application Notification

After the governing body has made a decision staff will notify property owners and applicants of this decision in writing. If the application was approved, staff will send the owner the designation ordinance and a copy of the Secretary of the Interior Standards for Rehabilitation. At that time, the owner will need to provide a check to the Planning Department to cover the cost of recording the ordinance of designation in the Durham County Register of Deeds Office. The cost is approximately $25 but this should be verified with Planning staff or the Register of Deeds prior to issuing a check. The applicant will also be responsible for issuing a check to cover the cost of a Landmark plaque (approximately $200) to be placed on the property once designated.

Once a property is designated, any modifications to the designated portions of the property require a Certificate of Appropriateness prior to making these modifications. Failure to make modifications in keeping with this process may result in the property losing its landmark designation.