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A COA is valid for one (1) year from the date of approval by the Historic Preservation Commission (HPC). If improvements were started within that one (1) year, then the COA will be in effect for the period of two (2) years from the date of issuance. Reference Section 158.07 (D)
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Historic Preservation reinforces community identity, protects property values, shows commitment to safeguarding our collective history, promotes economic development and energy conservation. Historic Preservation tells the stories of our past and helps protect the characteristics of Bowling Green which make it unique.
The Historic and Architectural Preservation Code is located in Chapter 158 of the City of Bowling Green Ordinance. All Sections of the Code are referenced below with other Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs).
The ordinance provides a process to protect the historic buildings and character of Bowling Green. Once a property is listed (also called “locally designated”), either individually or within a district, the Historic Overlay Zone is added to the existing zoning of the property. All properties within the Historic Overlay Zone follow the Historic Preservation Ordinance. Reference Section 158.02
If a property would require any new, major exterior work, the ordinance states that the owner should file a Certificate of Appropriateness (COA) (PDF) with the Bowling Green Historic Preservation Commission. This COA shows that the proposed work is a suitable application for the structure’s architectural style, remaining historical appearance, and, in the case of a district, surrounding historical character. Reference Section 158.07
Depending on the type of work, a Zoning Certificate may also be required. Contact the Planning Department for questions about Zoning Certificates by phone (419) 354-6218 or Email Planning
The Bowling Green Boom Town district, for example, is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, which is the official list of the Nation's historic places worthy of preservation. However, this honor does not protect historic buildings. Authorized by the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966, the National Park Service's National Register of Historic Places is part of a national program to coordinate and support public and private efforts to identify, evaluate, list, and protect America's historic and archeological resources. A Local Listing (or to locally designate) will provide a level of review for the protection of the historic resources of the community, as applicable. Reference Section 158.02 (A)
Individuals may propose a designation that is not otherwise included in a historic district (an “individual” property for designation). Such a proposal should include the history and description of the property. The Historic Preservation Commission (HPC) will hold a public hearing after receiving the owner’s application, followed by a recommendation to City Council. As for Historic Districts, a recommendation will be initiated by the HPC. A written survey of residents will be conducted, followed by a public hearing and a recommendation to City Council. Reference Section 158.06
The Inventory Form is available from the HPC (contact the Planning Department at 419-354-6218 or Email Planning) for inputting historical information about your property. As listed in the Preservation Ordinance, at least two (2) or more of the following criteria must be met for local designation. The property is:
The HPC and City staff are happy to provide assistance. The Wood County District Public Library also has resources to help owners research the history of a structure, which much can be done without leaving your home.
As for local designation of a Historic District, a recommendation will be initiated by the Historic Preservation Commission. A written survey of residents will be conducted, followed by a public hearing and a recommendation to City Council. Reference Section 158.06
Properties that are locally designated (or listed) have statistically had strong property values, even in down markets. In 2017, the National Trust for Historic Preservation found that nearly one-in-two Millennials prefer living in a neighborhood with historic character. And “…53% view historic preservation as a way to protect the unique, cultural wealth and diversity of communities.”
National Trust for Historic Preservation: Reclaiming the Past in Bricks and Mortar: New Study Reveals Millennials’ Desire to Connect with Historic Places
Commercial structures or multi-unit structures are eligible for state tax credit programs and grant opportunities. Such a listing could also create jobs, increase property values, encourage walkable communities, and help make improvements to an income-producing property.
Ohio History Connection: Federal and State Tax Incentives
Non-contributing properties within a Historic District should “…remain compatible with the character of the district.” A Certificate of Appropriateness (COA) for major exterior work would still be required, but the HPC may be more lenient with decisions on such structures. Reference Section 158.03 (H) & (S)
The procedure is outlined in the Bowling Green Historic and Architectural Preservation Code. It is suggested that an informal discussion occur with the HPC in order to become familiar with the process and project prior to submitting the Certificate of Appropriateness (COA) (PDF). If a COA is submitted within 15 days of the next HPC meeting, it will be reviewed at that meeting, and the Commission will immediately determine if the desired work meets the Standards. A Zoning Certificate (contact the Planning Department to check at 419-354-6218 or Email Planning) may also be required for major alterations or construction. If the COA (and Zoning Certificate, if applicable) are approved -- the work may commence. If denied, the HPC will offer recommendations for improving the scope to meet the Standards. Appeals of the decision may be made to the Zoning Board of Appeals. Reference Section 158.07
Decisions by the HPC may be appealed to the Board of Zoning Appeals (BZA) within ten (10) days of receipt of the Commission’s decision. Reference Section 158.12 (A)
Examples requiring a COA would include the full replacement of new roofing, siding, windows, signage and awnings. Other major examples include additions to the structure, alterations to the existing form, construction of a garage, and replacement or major changes with a front patio, porch, and fences. The installation of solar panels would also require a COA. Reference Section 158.08 (A) - this specific section also provides further details for assistance.
All general maintenance needs such as tuckpointing masonry, paint touch-up, repair of existing roofing, partial replacement of windows, siding, fences, paint colors, and door hardware will not be regulated. All interior maintenance, remodeling and other reconstruction activities are not regulated by this code and do not need a COA. Reference Sections 158.08 (A) and 158.08 (D)
Preservation and repair of existing non-historic exterior features are allowed, including replacement of small sections, as long as it matches the whole in color, texture and design. A COA application is not required. Reference Section 158.08 (A)
An appearance with the HPC is not required by the ordinance, however, it is HIGHLY encouraged and recommended, whether it be the owner or a contractor hired to help with the project. This is the best way to have a conversation that facilitates the sharing of information and expertise. Additionally, an optional COA pre-application meeting with the Historic Preservation Commission is available if requested. This voluntary discussion may help the applicant prepare the application and consider initial thoughts or advice from the HPC. Reference Section 158.07 (B) (1)
Replacement of front steps or sidewalks will probably not need a COA, as long as the replacement does not fundamentally alter the appearance of the property. For example, according to The Secretary of the Interior's Standards for Rehabilitation of Historic Buildings (the “Standards”) for replacing porch steps, it is permissible to use “…non-wooden steps and flooring where wood will not hold the paint of an Owner’s choice.” The ordinance states that “In relatively minor matters of historic detail, flexibility will be allowed…” unless the listing is more restrictive than the Standards approved by City Council. Reference Section 158.08 (D) (1)
The City of Bowling Green historic preservation ordinance is based on using The Secretary of the Interior's Standards for Rehabilitation of Historic Buildings. Some communities create their own guidelines or create guidelines for specific eras or neighborhoods to match existing architecture. At this time, the HPC and City Council decided to use the Standards, which were created by the federal government and are the standard for historic tax credit projects. This seemed like the best way to begin historic preservation in the City as a universally accepted standards used for historic projects.
Guidelines for Preserving, Rehabilitating, Restoring, and Reconstructing Historic Buildings (PDF)
The Secretary of the Interior's Standards for the Treatment of Historic Properties (36 CFR Part 68, 1995) consists of four treatment standards—Preservation, Rehabilitation, Restoration, and Reconstruction— and are regulatory for NPS Grants–in–Aid programs. The Secretary of the Interior's Standards for Rehabilitation (36 CFR Part 67, 1990), which are included in the Treatment Standards, are regulatory for the Federal Historic Preservation Tax Incentives program and are the criteria used to determine if a project qualifies as “a certified rehabilitation.” The 1990 and the 1995 versions of the Rehabilitation Standards convey the same intent and provide the same guidance, although they are worded slightly differently, and “shall” replaces “will” in the 1995 version. The Secretary of the Interior's Standards for the Treatment of Historic Properties, in particular the Standards for Rehabilitation, are intended as general guidance for work on all historic properties, are widely used, and have been adopted at the Federal, State, and local levels. Rehabilitation will likely be referenced for most projects to review COA’a for exterior projects.
The Secretary of the Interior's Standards for the Treatment of Historic Properties: Preservation as a Treatment and Standards for Preservation
The Secretary of the Interior's Standards for the Treatment of Historic Properties: Rehabilitation as a Treatment and Standards for Rehabilitation
The Secretary of the Interior's Standards for the Treatment of Historic Properties: Restoration as a Treatment and Standards for Restoration
The Secretary of the Interior's Standards for the Treatment of Historic Properties: Reconstruction as a Treatment and Standards for Reconstruction
As described in the Bowling Green’s Historic and Architectural Preservation Code, “…reasonable care, maintenance and upkeep…” is expected for each historic property. This applies primarily to the front yards of residential neighborhoods; the downtown buildings do not ordinarily apply. Appropriate plantings and trees are encouraged, and yard structures (e.g., pergolas or gazebos) are acceptable if located in the back of properties. Reference Section 158.09
For plantings across the front of the property, “…landscaping shall be provided and maintained on Listed Properties and Properties within a Historic District. Listed Properties and Properties within a Historic District must maintain appropriate foundation plantings across their front as appropriate to the historic era of the Property. Such plantings shall be, minimally, decorative shrubs and/or small trees set at intervals no wider than six (6) feet apart along the uninterrupted (by house steps, for example) foundation frontage.” It is encouraged but not required that plantings are representative of the historic period of the property. A Certificate of Appropriateness (COA) is not required for planting or removing landscaping. Please note this references private property only, a street tree cannot be removed or pruned without permission from the City of Bowling Green Arborist. Reference Section 158.09 (B)
As long as the unit(s) do not “significantly alter the View Corridor and/or Streetscape,” air conditioning units are allowed and do not require a Certificate of Appropriateness (COA). It is recommended, however, that the HPC be consulted before proceeding with the project. Reference Section 158.07 (C) (2)
In all situations, the HPC strives to be flexible. In this case, if the pool does not substantially alter the front exterior features of the property, then the COA would probably be granted. Reference Section 158.07 (C) (2)
Yes, a Certificate of Appropriateness (COA) (PDF) is required for permission to demolish a historically significant listed property within a historic district. Please refer to the Ordinance for exclusions and details. Reference Section 158.07 (G)