A Certificate of Appropriateness is required for work on the exterior of all buildings located within local historic districts and for individually nominated and designated landmark buildings. This includes repairs, alterations, additions, demolition, relocation, new construction, and site work such as fencing or paving. Click here to view maps of all the historic districts. If you have specific questions about what you can and cannot do to a property in a historic district, click here for the HDLC’s frequently asked questions or reference their comprehensive guidelines here.
Duration: Currently the review and approval process for Certificates of Appropriateness and Review will take approximately 6-10 weeks.
1. Determine whether or not you are in a historic district or a landmark building. You may also want to read the HDLC's Design Guidelines before you begin any work.
2. All work proposed on the exterior of a building within a local Historic District (or a landmark), will need a Certificate of Appropriateness from this office. (NOTE: The painting of a building does NOT need a Certificate of Appropriateness from this office unless it involves the painting of a previously unpainted brick surface, or the painting involves caulking and/or changing of weatherboards.)
3. Application - all work proposed must begin with filling out a BUILDING_PERMIT_MASTER_APPLICATION or begin online here. Please make sure that there is a contact telephone number so that the plans examiner may contact the applicant (if other than owner) if there are any questions or comments about the application. Depending on the type of work, drawings may be required. The HDLC encourages drawings to be submitted in an electronic format. Drawings larger than 11x17 in. must be submitted electronically. Please see our Standards for Digital Submission for accepted formats and methods of submission.
4. Review process - the plans examiner will review the application and if the work can be approved at the staff level, a Certificate of Appropriateness will be issued. The normal waiting time for applications which can be approved by the staff ranges from 6-10 weeks.
5. Architectural Review Committee meeting - If the work proposed requires approval from the Architectural Review Committee (ARC), the plans examiner will let the applicant know the date and time of the meeting. The applicant/owner is required to attend the meeting to make sure all issues are discussed.
6. Commission Meeting - sometimes a project needs the approval of the full Commission. These projects usually involve demolition, new construction, or the retention of work done in violation.
7. Certificate of Appropriateness - once the project receives all the necessary approvals, a Certificate of Appropriateness (C of A) will be issued by the HDLC. Once a C of A is issued, the applicant may obtain a building permit - in person at the One Stop Shop (City Hall, 1300 Perdido St., 7th floor) or via electronic routing. Please contact the One Stop at 504-658-7100 to see if you need a building permit for the work proposed.
8. Although a Certificate of Appropriateness is required by the HDLC for the following work, no permit is required from the Department of Safety and Permits:
- Removal and replacement of deteriorated weatherboards, aluminum or vinyl siding
- Removal and replacement of deteriorated floor boards
- Removal and replacement of deteriorated porches and steps - front, rear and sides, when not in conflict with the Zoning Ordinance
- Paving of yard
- Retaining walls which are not over three (3) feet in height
- Exterior painting when not requiring protective scaffolding over public property
- Roofing and/or gutter work with respect to one and two family dwellings
- Fences up to seven (7) feet in height. - Exemption from the permit requirements of this Code shall not be deemed to grant authorization for any work to be done in any manner in violation of the provisions of this Code or any other laws or ordinances of the City of New Orleans including Vieux Carre' Commission and Historic District Landmarks Commission requirements.