What is a Certificate of Appropriateness?When do I need a Certificate of Appropriateness?What is considered a structure?Do fences, gates, and landscaping require a CA?Do I need a CA to demolish a building on my property?Do Certificates of Appropriateness expire?When is a Courtesy Review needed?How do I know what is allowed in my district?Where can I get a CA/CD/CR application and how do I submit it?What is the process for Landmark review?What is considered Routine Maintenance?Once I obtain my CA, can I start work?I received a Notice of Violation or Stop Work Order. What do I do?What happens if I fail to comply with the historic district ordinance?How do I report a violation in my district?
Q1. What is a Certificate of Appropriateness?
A Certificate of Appropriateness (CA) is a permit to allow construction, demolition, or alteration of any structure or site that is located in a designated landmark district or is designated as a landmark site. A Certificate of Appropriateness does not replace a building permit, which must be obtained separately if required for your project.
Q2. When do I need a Certificate of Appropriateness?
A CA must be obtained for work on all structures or sites in a Landmark district, including non-contributing structures, work that occurs on the rear of any structure, and major landscaping changes anywhere on the property. Contact the Staff member in charge of your district if you are unsure.
Q3. What is considered a structure?
A structure is any building on your property - including the main structure and accessory structure - and also includes fences, retaining walls, carports, and any landscaping feature over 6 inches tall.
Q4. Do fences, gates, and landscaping require a CA?
Yes, all fences/gates and many landscaping changes require a CA prior to the start of work. However, landscaping changes that involve planting perennials and annuals in existing landscaping beds do not require a CA.
Q5. Do I need a CA to demolish a building on my property?
Yes, but you will need to fill out a Certificate for Demolition (CD) application rather than a CA application. The steps and timeline for Certificate for Demolition review is the same as the Certificate of Appropriateness review process.
Q6. Do Certificates of Appropriateness expire?
Certificates of Appropriateness – If continuous progress is not made towards completion of approved work for a period in excess of 180 days then the CA is no longer valid. The director may authorize a suspension of the work for a period of greater than 180 days upon written request by the applicant showing circumstances beyond the control of the applicant.
Certificate of Demolition – CDs expire 180 days after the approval date.
Q7. When is a Courtesy Review needed?
For most projects, the Certificate of Appropriateness review process is sufficient. However, a Courtesy Review (CR) may be applied for review by Landmark Commission for large scale projects that may not necessarily conform to a specific preservation criteria or the property owner wants a degree of comfort before committing time and financial resources to a plan. The Courtesy Review process has the same steps and timeline as the Certificate of Appropriateness outlined in Question #8, but requires a Courtesy Review form rather than a CA or CD application.
Q8. How do I know what is allowed in my district?
Design guidelines are located in the ordinance for each district or individually designated structure. Additionally, staff is available to answer specific questions regarding your project.
Q9. Where can I get a CA/CD/CR application and how do I submit it?
CA applications are available on our website. Applications are due by Noon on the first Thursday of each month. You may submit your application in person (City Hall, 1500 Marilla St., Room 5BN) or via email to the staff member in charge of your district. Fax and US Mail submissions are also accepted, but contact the staff member in charge of your district prior to submitting by mail or fax. The deadline is non-negotiable. Please read the instructions and checklist included with the application carefully prior to submission.
Q10. What is the process for Landmark Commission application review?
The process for Landmark review is detailed here.
Q11. What is considered Routine Maintenance?
In general, Routine Maintenance includes minor repair work that does not include a change in design, material, or appearance. Routine applications are reviewed at the Staff level and can take up to 20 days to process, although Staff normally completes them sooner. View a list of common Routine Maintenance items here.
Q12. Once I obtain my CA, can I start work?
Work may begin on approved items once your signed Certificate of Appropriateness from Landmark Commission staff is posted in a visible location on your property, and once any applicable permits from Building Inspection have been obtained. Please note that a building permit cannot be obtained until you present your official signed CA to Building Inspection staff.
Q13. I received a Notice of Violation or Stop Work Order. What do I do?
First, work must be stopped if construction is still in progress. Failure to halt work can result in a citation. Contact the staff member in charge of your district and the inspector listed on your notice to inform them that you will be submitting a CA as soon as possible, and be mindful of the application deadline.
Q14. What happens if I fail to comply with the historic district ordinance?
A person who violates a provision of the ordinance, upon conviction, is punishable by a fine not to exceed $2000. In addition to punishment by fine, the City may, in accordance with state law, provide civil penalties for a violation of the ordinance, and institute any appropriate action or proceedings to prevent, restrain, correct, or abate the unlawful erection, construction, reconstruction, alteration, repair, conversion, maintenance, demolition, or removal of a building, structure, or land on the Property. See the specific ordinance for your district for more details.
Q15. How do I report a violation in my district?
Suspected violations should be reported by calling 311 or by filling out a form via the City of Dallas website. Please note that multiple reports are not recorded on the same issue while the investigation is pending. You can remain anonymous.