What is the Landmark Alteration Permit Process?
The Landmarks Preservation Commission (LPC) oversees the initiation, designation and/or alteration of properties or structures that it deems worthy of preservation for a variety of reasons, including, but not limited to architectural merit and historic or cultural significance. The LPC has the responsibility for design review of projects that involve landmarks, structures of merit or buildings within an historic district.
Click to see a list of designated landmarks. Note the date on the pdf. If it is older than one month old, the property you are researching is not listed, and you have reason to be concerned that the property may be a landmark, please check with the zoning staff or the Landmarks Preservation Commission secretary on the status of the property.
When is an Alteration Permit required?
Approval of an Alteration Permit by the LPC is required for any exterior construction, alteration, or demolition for which a City permit is required on a designated landmark, in a designated historic district or structure of merit. Interior alterations of landmarked public buildings are also regulated.
How are neighbors involved?
The LPC holds public hearings on applications for Alteration Permits. The public hearing notice is posted at least ten days before the hearing and is mailed to all property owners and residents within 300 feet of the project site. Neighbors are welcome to submit written comments to staff at any point during the process. Written comments provided prior to the public hearing will be distributed to Commission members. Verbal testimony can be provided at the meeting.
How does LPC decide whether to approve an Alteration Permit?
When reviewing a project, the LPC considers how findings can be made so that the project will not conflict with the provisions of the Landmarks Preservation Ordinance and the applicable Standards as set forth in the Secretary of the Interior’s Standards for the Treatment of Historic Properties:
How do I apply for an Alteration Permit?
Applications must be filed in person at the Permit Service Center , and must include all of the applicable requirements listed in the “LPC Structural Alteration Permit & Design Review Submittal Requirements”. Minimum requirements include (but are not limited to):
- Application fees (see Fee Schedule)
- Application form with owner's signature
- Color photographs
- Written description of project including a statement of how the project adheres to the Secretary of the Interior’s standards
- Site plan, floor plans, and elevations
How long does it take?
Alteration Permit applications that are complete when submitted and do not require environmental review, major revisions or mediation are typically processed in 3 to 12 months, depending on the complexity of the application.
What is the process?
All Alteration Permits require a public hearing at the LPC. When staff analysis has been completed, a public hearing notice is distributed. A staff report, including a recommendation for action, is provided prior to the meeting.
If an Alteration Permit also requires a Use Permit or an Administrative Use Permit, a separate application must be submitted. Staff will coordinate review to ensure that necessary information is available for all decision-makers.
Following the LPC decision, staff will mail a Notice of Decision, which starts a 15-day appeal period. If appealed, City Council consideration is scheduled within two or three months. The City Council has the following options:
- Affirm LPC action, or
- Remand to LPC for reconsideration, or
- Set for public hearing at City Council.
The City Council will receive the entire record for the project. Additional written information may be submitted and will be provided to the Council, however, public testimony is not taken at the meeting when the City Council decides between these options.