What are the differences between national or state registers of historic places and Boulder County landmark designation?
National/State Register status and Boulder County landmark designation both offer several benefits and both are voluntary. Besides the pride of owning an important piece of history, each gives the property owner the ability to pursue grant money, tax credits, and variances from the Building Code. There is an important difference, however. Properties listed on the National or State Register have no protection from inappropriate alteration or even demolition. While that may not be important to you now, it could become important should the property one day be owned by someone with no interest in preservation.
Exterior changes to or demolition of a National or State Register property and a Boulder County Historic Landmark are reviewed at a meeting of the Boulder County Historic Preservation Advisory Board. In the case of a National or State Register property, the county can delay alteration or demolition up to 180 days. In the case of a Boulder County Historic Landmark, inappropriate alteration or demolition can be prevented. If a National or State Register property is altered to the point that its historic importance has been damaged, it may be removed from the Register and the property owner would no longer be eligible for the benefits of Register status.
In both cases, the county realizes that older structures need repairs and sometimes need additions to make them livable in modern times. While no guarantee of what will happen for future proposals to renovate historic structures, it may relieve you to know that over the history of the historic review process, the county has approved many well designed alterations of and additions to National or State Register and Boulder County Historic Landmark structures. At the suggestion of the Historic Preservation Advisory Board, the county has required redesign of some proposals, but none have been denied. Our staff and HPAB are happy to meet with property owners before, during and after the design process to discuss your project and to provide guidance.
If I landmark, can I modernize the interior of my building?
Boulder County Landmark Designation typically does not apply to the interior of structures, so alterations that don’t change the exterior appearance do not require historic review.
If I wish to landmark, what is the first step?
The best way to start landmark designation is to meet with one of our staff members to discuss the process and any concerns you may have. Contact our historic preservation staff to set up an appointment.