Historic Landmark Overlay Zoning Process

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DIMES-buttonMinimum Requirements for Creating a Landmark

The requirements for designating an historic district are provided in Chapter 23 of the Mesa Zoning Ordinance.  For an area to be considered for designation as an historic district the following must be met:

  • A building, structure, or object may be designated as an historic landmark only if it displays exceptional historic, visual or architectural significance and at least one of the following:
    • Meet the criteria for historic districts adopted by the State of Arizona through the State Historic Preservation Office;
    • Substantially meet the criteria for the listing of districts to the National Register of Historic Places adopted by the United States Secretary of the Interior; or
    • Any part of it is 50 or more years old and it satisfies one of the following:
      • Exemplifies or reflects special elements of Mesa's cultural, social, economic, political, aesthetic, engineering or architectural past;
      • Embodies distinguishing characteristics of style, period, method of construction or development in Mesa or serves as a valuable example of the use of indigenous materials or craftsmanship/
      • Represents the notable work of a master builder, designer or architect;
      • Represents a rare building type, style, design or indigenous building form; or,
      • Is identifiable with a person or event significant in local, state, or national history.

Designation Procedures

Designation of an area as an historic landmark is the same process as changing the zoning on the property.  The review procedures require citizen participation and notification, review and recommendations by the Historic Preservation Board, review and recommendation by the Planning and Zoning Board, and final action by the City Council.  Property owners considering applying for historic district designation are strongly encouraged to contact the Historic Preservation Officer early in their consideration.

  1. Formal application - Submission of an online application form and a petition signed by at least 50% plus one of the number of owners within the boundaries of the proposed Historic District, who also control at least 50% of the property area to be included within the Historic District.

  2. Follow up submittal - Based on the feedback received, the application will make a follow up submittal of revised or additional material.  If the application is complete and the issues have been addressed, a date will be set for the Historic Preservation Board hearing.  Notices  will be sent, the property will need to be posted, and the request will be advertised in the newspaper.  If possible, this notice can also include the information on the Planning and zoning Board meeting.

  3. Citizen Participation - A citizen participation plan [PDF] is required as part of the request and must be submitted by the follow up submittal.  This plan must state how the applicant will engage surrounding property owners and residents in review of the development request.  At least 10 days prior to the scheduled Planning and Zoning Board hearing, the applicant must provide a report of the feedback received and actions taken as a result of the citizen input.

  4. Historic Preservation Board - Staff prepares a report and recommendation to the Historic Preservation Board.  This report and recommendation is available on Thursday afternoon prior to the Board meeting.  The Board typically holds its meetings on the 1st Tuesday of the month at 6:00 p.m. in the Lower Level Council Conference Room.  All Board meetings are open to the public and the applicant is encouraged to attend.  The Board members will hear presentations by the applicant and staff on the request, discuss the proposal, and vote on a recommendation regarding whether or not the application should be approved.

  5. Planning and Zoning Board - Following the action by the Historic Preservation Board, the application will be scheduled for review and recommendation by the Planning and Zoning Board.  The Planning and Zoning Board holds its regular meetings on the 3rd Wednesday of each month.  The Tuesday morning before that meeting, a study session is held to review cases, obtain clarification about the requests, and ask for additional information that may be needed to help render a decision or recommendation.  All Board meetings are open to the public and the applicants are encouraged to attend.  The Board members will hear presentations by the applicant and staff on the request, discuss the proposal, and vote on a recommendation regarding whether or not the application should be approved.

  6. City Council- The ultimate approval is by the City Council.  Following the action by the Planning and Zoning Board, typically within six weeks, the request will be scheduled for public hearing by the City Council.  should the Council vote to approve the zoning overlay district, the designation will be effective 30 days after the Council action.

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