Historic Preservation, Landmarks and Overlay Districts

The Planning and Design Services Urban Design team is responsible for:
  • Oversight of exterior alterations for the Landmarks Commission, Downtown Development Review Overlay and Bardstown Road Overlay District
  • Issuing Certificates of Appropriateness and Overlay Permits either at staff or committee level
  • Preparing designation reports for local landmarks and preservation districts that are considered for demolition or other causes

Historic Landmarks and Preservation Districts Commission
Louisville Metro's local preservation districts and individual landmarks designations recognize, preserve, and protect the city's significant historic and architectural resources for the entire community. The designation establishes a local oversight process for design review of all exterior alterations, demolition, and new construction. This review process is conducted by the Landmarks Commission staff and the Architectural Review Committees. If you would like to serve on one of our Architectural Review Committees or need to renew your Architectural Review Committee membership, please fill out that form here
All exterior work performed on a Landmark Building in a Preservation District which includes all sides of the building, the yard, streetscape, and/or street and alley public rights-of-way, or beyond simple ground disturbance activity (landscaping) on a landmark site without proper approval (the issuance of a Certificate of Appropriateness) is a violation subject to fines, penalties, or a field issued stop work order. Please consider applying for a Certificate of Appropriateness if you are unsure if you are doing any work that may lead to a fine. Feel free to call us if you think you may be in a preservation district or have a landmark property to which you wish to make renovations. We may be reached at (502) 574-3501 or (502) 574-6230. 

The application for a Certificate of Appropriateness can be found here. More information on the approval process: Landmarks-Certificate of Appropriateness User Guide.

Local Preservation Districts/Architectural Review Committees

The following areas have been designated as local preservation districts:

Need more information on local preservation districts? Please refer to the links below. 

Design Guidelines
Projects that propose exterior alterations to buildings that are landmarks or are located within designated local preservation districts are evaluated by Architectural Review Committees (ARC) and staff in accordance with design guidelines. Design guidelines are intended to serve as a reference and a resource for property owners, clarifying in advance what is expected. The ARC or staff determines the appropriateness of a project after reviewing all applicable guidelines. The goal is to strike a balance that best serves both the resource and the owner. There is no scoring or minimum number of guidelines to be met.
Design guidelines provide an overview of the distinctive characteristics of each district and individual landmark and the statement of principles and standards governing exterior alterations to structures or properties of each district and landmarks. The guidelines do not dictate styles or specific design motifs. Instead, they suggest a choice of approaches for achieving design compatibility. These guidelines can be found below:
For more information on design guidelines, please see: Historic Louisville: Preservation Districts and Local Landmarks

Overlay Districts

Overlay Districts are intended to promote compatibility of development with existing land use and design features. Within designated areas, proposed developments and physical changes to the exterior of a building are reviewed in accordance with established principles and guidelines addressing urban design elements.

The application for an Overlay District Permit can be found here. Applications are reviewed by the appropriate Overlay Committee. More information on the approval process can be found in the Overlay District Permit User Guide.

Related Links