Local Historic Districts

Local historic districts have many benefits for the community and property owners within the district. These benefits include a positive impact on tourism, enhancement of business recruitment potential, the encouragement of better quality design, the improvement of the environment, and other educational, social, and psychological benefits. A local historic district protects the investments of owners of the properties within the district. Studies have proven that real estate values are often higher in local historic districts than in non-protected equivalent historic districts.

Become Part of a District
There are 5 easy steps to becoming a part of a local historic district:
  1. Contact the Community Development Department staff at 765-807-1090 to submit an application for the inclusion of property or creation of a local historic district.
  2. The staff will schedule a meeting with the Historic Preservation Committee (HPC) and interested parties to review the application.
  3. The HPC's District Committee will work with interested parties until a cohesive support area for the proposed district is determined.
  4. The HPC's District Committee will present the interested parties' formal application for district designation or inclusion into a district to the HPC.
  5. Upon the approval of the HPC, the application will be presented to the Lafayette City Council by the HPC for formal adoption. 
Current Districts
View or download the Map of the Local Historic Districts in Lafayette (PDF). Here is a breakdown of our districts:
  • 2 Commercial Districts:
    • Downtown Local Historic District
    • Upper Main Street Local Historic District
  • 4 Residential Districts:
    • South 9th Street Hill Local Historic District
    • South 6th  Street Local Historic District
    • South 3rd Street Local Historic District
    • Centennial Local Historic District (425-427 North 5th Street)
  • 3 Single Site Districts
    • Columbia Street Local Historic District (811 Columbia Street)
    • Salem Street Local Historic District (1827 Salem Street)
    • Oregon Street Local Historic District (615 Oregon Street)
Property Owner Requirements
Property owners of local historic district property are required to receive a Certificate of Appropriateness (COA) from the HPC prior to beginning any conspicuous change, demolition, moving, addition or infill construction to the exterior of the property located within the district. A change of the roof, windows, doors, siding, awnings, antennas/satellite dishes, garages or sheds, retaining walls or fencing, etc., viewable from the public right of way does require an HPC-approved COA of the plans prior to construction.

An approved COA is not needed for changes not subject to public view, interior remodeling, normal repair and maintenance not altering the exterior appearance of the property or for painting of the exterior. The change of use of a structure also does not require an approved COA from the HPC.

Guidelines for Property Changes/Alterations
It is important to refer to the Design Guidelines for Local Historic Districts when planning changes to the exterior of a property located within a Local Historic District. Copies of the Design Guidelines for Local Historic Districts are also available at the Community Development Department at 515 Columbia Street or call 765-807-1090. The HPC also follows the Local Standards Adapted from the Secretary of Interior Standards.

In general it is preferred that all features important in defining the overall historic character of the structure are identified, retained and preserved if at all possible. The repair of original historic features is advised. If replacement is necessary, the replacement features should match the original fabric in size, profile, character, general appearance and material.

COA Procedures
  1. Obtain and fill out a COA Application, available at the Community Development office or the City Engineer's Office.
  2. Submit the  COA Application to the Community Development Office along with the following:
    • Renovation
      1. Elevations (or drawings of finished exterior)
      2. Specifications
      3. Site plans
      4. Photographs (current and historic)
      5. Sketches
    • New Construction
      1. Building plans and elevations
      2. Specifications
      3. Site plans
      4. Photographs (current and historic)
      5. Sample material/product literature
    • Demolition
      1. Photographs (including adjacent properties)
      2. City inspector's report
      3. Other pertinent information
  3. The HPC's COA Committee may hold a meeting to review the application. (Note: The Committee may require a 10- to 14-day review period prior to submittal to the full board.)
  4. The applicant will go before the HPC for formal review at the next regularly scheduled meeting, usually the last Monday of the month at 7 p.m. in the Board of Works room of City Hall, and will either be approved, denied, or tabled.

The COA Process Flowchart

How to Obtain a COA From the Lafayette Historic Preservation Commission
Unapproved COA Applications
If a COA Application is denied by the HPC, the applicant has 30 days after the commission's review to appeal the decision. The applicant must complete a written explanation of why the applicant believes the decision of the HPC to be erroneous and submit this appeal to the Appeals Board. The Appeals Board consists of the Mayor, City Council President, City Council Appointee, City Engineer and the HPC President. Within 30 days of the applicant requesting a review of the decision by the Appeals Board, a decision shall be issued that shall either affirm or reverse the decision of the HPC.
Local Historic Districts vs. National Register Historic Districts 
Local historic districts are established by local ordinance and are overseen by the mayoral-appointed HPC. If and when a property owner within a local historic district wishes to make changes to the exterior of their property, they are required to complete an application for a COA and to present their proposed changes before the HPC.
National Register historic districts are approved by the U.S. Department of the Interior National Park Service. All property owners are notified of proposed nominations. If the property is within the City of Lafayette, the nomination is made first to the HPC, who then makes a recommendation to the Indiana Division of Historic Preservation and Archaeology (IDHPA). The IDHPA then submits their recommendation to the U.S. Department of the Interior National Park Service.
The National Register includes individual buildings, sites, structures, objects and districts deemed important in American history, culture, architecture or archaeology. Inclusion within a National Register district is an honor - there are no special processes to undertake in order to make exterior changes to a National Register-listed property unless federal or state funds are involved.