Certificate of Appropriateness Review Process

A project involving physical changes to the exterior of a building, structure, or property designated as an individual landmark or located within a local preservation district shall require prior approval in the form of a Certificate of Appropriateness (unless the scope of work is exempted by the ordinance). To be approved, the scope of work must demonstrate conformance with adopted design guidelines.

COA Process

 

Step 1. Application

Submit an application for a Certificate of Appropriateness (COA). Applications must be submitted by Friday to be distributed to Case Managers the following Monday.

Next Step

A case managed will be assigned to review your application. Provided the application is complete, the Case Manager has two weeks to review your proposal and determine whether the proposal can be approved administratively by staff or if it requires review by a committee.                                              

Next Step

Step 2A. Staff Level Applications

If the application does not require a committee review and meets the design guidelines, staff will issue a COA approval, which may include conditions of approval. If staff denies the COA application, the owner/applicant has 30 days to appeal the decision to the Historic Landmarks and Preservation Districts Commission. 

Step 2B. Committee Level Applications

Based on thresholds in the adopted ordinance, the application may require review by an Architectural Review Committee (ARC). Staff will work with the application schedule the application on a meeting docket for review. Once a date is set, the applicant is required to carry out notification to adjacent property owners by mail. Staff will prepare the notices and explain the process. Generally, noticing must be carried out at least 7 days in advance of the meeting.

Next Step

The ARC will review the application at a meeting that is open to the public. The Case Manager prepares a staff report prior to the meeting. The staff report and agenda are provided in advance to ARC members for their review. Applicants and other parties will have the opportunity to address the ARC.                              

Next Step

After hearing public comment, the ARC will approve, approve with conditions, or deny the application or defer action to a future meeting. The final action is based on whether the application meets or does not meet the applicable design guidelines. If the ARC denies the COA application, the owner/applicant has 30 days to appeal the decision to the Historic Landmarks and Preservation Districts Commission. 

Next Step

Step 3. Historic Landmarks and Preservation Districts Commission (If Appealed)

If an application is appealed, a date is set for the Commission meeting. 

Next Step

The staff report and agenda are provided in advance to Commission members for their review. Applicants and other parties may have the opportunity to address the Commission.                                                                  

Next Step

After hearing public comment, the Commission will act on the appeal or defer action to a future meeting. A decision of the Staff or the ARC can be overturned by the Commission only if they find that the Staff or ARC made a clearly erroneous decision about whether the proposed exterior alteration complied with the guidelines. When the Commission overturns a denial of an application, it shall approve the application, or approve the application with conditions. Any decision of the Commission can be further appealed to Circuit Court. 

Please review Chapter 32 of the Louisville Metro Code of Ordinances and the Commission's bylaws for full procedures.

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