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Approvals & Guidelines

Design Review Approvals
The city's Historic Preservation Office (HPO) performs design review for exterior changes to properties listed on the Phoenix Historic Property Register to ensure changes are compatible with the historic character of the property and/or historic district. This includes properties listed on the Phoenix Historic Property Register (i.e. properties with "HP" or "HP-L" overlay zoning), either individually or located in a district.

Design Review Process Overview
A Certificate of Appropriateness (COA) or a Certificate of No Effect (CNE) is required for all proposed building permit applications affecting the exterior of properties listed on the city's Historic Property Register, including infill construction and changes to non-historic properties located within historic districts. HPO staff will review your project to determine if it is eligible for a Certificate of No Effect or Certificate of Appropriateness. All projects are required to follow the city's Historic Preservation Philosophy and General Design Guidelines for Historic Properties to determine the project's potential effect on the historic character of the property and/or district. To provide applicants with technical assistance on proposed projects requiring building permits, HPO maintains walk-in hours from 12:30-5:00 p.m. each business day. Customers must sign in by 4:00 p.m. and may continue their business transaction through close of business at 5:00 p.m. If the property owner or his/her representative is unable to make it in during the HPO walk-in hours, an appointment may be scheduled at another time by calling 602-261-8699.

Certificate of No Effect
A Certificate of No Effect (PDF) is an over-the-counter staff approval that may be issued for minor work that will have no detrimental effect on the historic character of the property and which is clearly within the established General Design Guidelines. The Historic Preservation Commission has established a list of Projects Eligible for Certificates of No Effect (PDF).

Certificate of Appropriateness
A Certificate of Appropriateness (PDF) requires a public hearing by an independent hearing officer regarding whether or not the project meets the General Design Guidelines. City HPO staff will determine whether a project is eligible for a CNE or requires a COA.

In order to obtain a COA, the first step is to contact the HPO to schedule a pre-application meeting with one of the historic preservation planners. At this meeting, the planner will discuss the proposed project with you and make suggestions regarding the design, materials, placement or other details in order to guide the project towards meeting the city's Historic Preservation Philosophy (PDF) and General Design Guidelines for Historic Properties (PDF). The planner will also review the Certificate of Appropriateness process, the Instructions for Filing an Application for a Certificate of Appropriateness (PDF) and answer any questions you may have regarding the process.

Prior to submitting plans for the hearing, applicants are encouraged to review them with adjacent neighbors as well as the neighborhood association in which the property is located. The appropriate neighborhood association contact can be obtained from the HPO.

Requests for Demolition Approval
The HPO seeks to protect buildings within the city of Phoenix that are important to its past. In cases where the property owner wishes to demolish a property that is listed on the Phoenix Historic Property Register, a Request for Demolition Approval must be submitted to the HPO. For information regarding this process, see Requesting Demolition Approval, Submittal Requirements (PDF) and the Request for Demolition Approval Application (PDF). In the event that the initial application for Demolition Approval is denied, the property owner may request a Certification of Economic Hardship Hearing. For more information on this process and what is required for submittal, see Economic Hardship Instructions (PDF).

For more information, visit the Historic Preservation Office from 12:30-5:00 p.m. on each business day. Customers must sign in by 4:00 p.m. and may continue their business transaction through close of business at 5:00 p.m. If the property owner or his/her representative is unable to make it in during the HPO walk-in hours, an appointment may be scheduled at another time by calling 602-261-8699.