Historic Preservation and Design Review Areas

This page provides information on Columbus historic preservation and design review areas, including instructions on how to apply for a Certificate of Appropriateness or Certificate of Approval in those areas.

The Planning Division serves as staff to the following design review boards, commissions and architectural review commissions that have development related approval authority. (see list below)

Property owners and developers that are making changes to their property within these areas may be required to obtain a Certificate of Appropriateness or Certificate of Approval (COA). Changes that may require review by a board or commission within these areas include all exterior changes, changes of use, signs/graphics, landscaping, or lot combinations. Information is provided at the links below to help you determine if a COA is required for a proposed change or modification to property in these areas.

How to determine property is within a Historic Preservation District, Design Review Area, or Zoning District

The Historic Preservation and Design Review Areas webmap may be used to determine if a property is within a designated area.  Users may search by address to find a property, then, click on the property to view a pop-up that lists the name of any historic district or design review area. The pop-up also contains a link to the COA application form and additional information. In rare circumstances a property may be located in multiple design review areas. If that is the case a small white triangle pointing right will appear at the top of the pop-up. Simply click the triangle in order to see any other design review areas that may apply.

Information on each specific area, including meeting schedules, the COA application form, design guidelines, city code, bylaws, the commission roster, and maps may be found at the links below.

Basis for Review

The basis for the review of applications for COAs are standards found in city code, design guidelines adopted by City Council, and/or the Secretary of the Interior’s Standards for the Treatment of Historic Properties (for Columbus Register Districts and properties individually listed in the Columbus Register of Historic Properties).  Refer to the relevant historic district or design review area (via above links or the webmap) to find the city code and design guidelines for that area.

How to Complete an Application for Certificate of Appropriateness or Approval (COA)

Standards and Guidelines: Review the standards and guidelines for the applicable area (see links above)

Application Requirements and Deadlines: Applications must be 100% complete and submitted by the required deadline, including required submission materials to be processed. Incomplete applications cannot be processed for commission/board or staff review. Materials submitted in the application are considered to be final and will be presented to the Board/Commission for review.  The applicant is not permitted to bring updated materials to a Board/Commission meeting without prior staff approval.

Required Materials: See the COA application for required materials. As indicated within the “Required Materials” section of the COA application, applicants must submit the required materials as attachments with the completed COA Application to the appropriate commission/board (see Contact Information Section below or the "Submittal Methods" section of the COA Application). File names for attachments should include the property address. See the COA Application for additional information.

Photos: The application should include photos of each side of existing building(s) and/or site and detailed views of the specific areas to be repaired or altered. Photos should be .jpg format. Include photos that provide both a broader view or context and a closer view to allow staff to view details. Photo file sizes should be limited to 1 MB or smaller when possible.

Important Note: A COA is not a permit for work. The COA and approved drawings, stamped by the Planning Division, must be taken to the Department of Building and Zoning Services (https://www.columbus.gov/bzs/) to obtain permits.

Contact Information

Use the appropriate email address to submit completed COA application forms or to ask questions.  If you are unable to email, call 614-724-4437 to request alternative delivery options or to ask questions.

Downtown Commission: dc@columbus.gov
University Impact District Review Board: uidrb@columbus.gov 
East Franklinton Review Board: efrb@columbus.gov 
Brewery District Commission: bdc@columbus.gov 
German Village Commission: gvc@columbus.gov 
Historic Resources Commission: hrc@columbus.gov 
Italian Village Commission: ivc@Columbus.gov 
Victorian Village Commission: vvc@columbus.gov