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Links to State and National Resources:

For a list of contractors and restoration specialists to help retain a building’s historic features:

Economic Benefits of Historic Preservation

The Arizona State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO) has assembled useful documents for understanding the economic benefits for owning and living in historic districts. Here are five myths they put together for you.

Myth 1 document Myth 2Myth 3Myth 4Myth 5

Terminology for Residents

Building Permits: A Building Permit is an official document issued by the City of Mesa that authorizes a specific construction activity. Generally, if a permit is required, then the construction activities must be inspected during construction and after completion to ensure compliance with the City's building codes. Failure to obtain a permit can result in significant fines and penalties, and even demolition of unauthorized construction if it

cannot be made to meet the code requirements.

Often the construction plans may be drawn by the home owner, however, for some projects, the plans require preparation by a licensed architect or engineer registered by the State of Arizona.

Prior to issuance of a building permit for the construction, alteration, rehabilitation, or maintenance of a structure, building, sign, or other object within a designated historic district or historic landmark, the Building Official shall first refer such application to the Historic Preservation Officer for review and approval of a Certificate of Appropriateness. No building permit shall be issued without such Certificate and an issued permit must be in conformance with the requirements specified in the Certificate of Appropriateness.

A permit is NOT required for:

  • Painting, papering, tiling, carpeting, cabinets, countertops, and similar finish work;
  • Replacement roofing material provided the replacement roof is similar to the existing type of material. For example, replacing asphalt shingles with asphalt shingles does not require a permit. However, replacing asphalt shingles with tile does require a permit.
  • Window awnings supported by an exterior wall projecting not more than 54 inches from the exterior wall and not requiring additional support in detached 1and
    2-family dwellings. Check the Zoning Code, Sec 11-30-2, for the minimum side or rear yard setback (the horizontal distance between a building, structure or wall from the property line) and for the distance an awning can project into the required setbacks.
  • Stopping of leaks in drains, water, soil, waste, or vent pipes. (Permits are required for projects that involve the removal and replacement of a concealed trap, drainpipe, water, soil, waste, or vent pipe.)
  • Clearing of stoppages or the repairing of leaks in pipes, valves, or fixtures, and the removal and re-installation of toilets. (Permits are required for projects that involve the replacement or rearrangement of valves, pipes, or fixtures.)
  • Temporary decorative lighting that does not require rewiring and will be removed within in 90 days.

Certificate of Appropriateness: Activities, such as, but not limited to, changes to or installation of:

  1. Additions
  2. Awnings or canopies
  3. Carports; garages
  4. Decks
  5. Doors, door frames
  6. Driveways
  7. Exterior walls; fencing
  8. Fire escapes, exterior stairs, exterior elevators, and ramps for the handicapped
  9. Painting of historically unpainted surfaces including wood, stone, brick, terra cotta, concrete and marble
  10. Parapet walls
  11. Pool & Pool Cages
  12. Porch and balcony railings or decorative detailing
  13. Roofs; skylights
  14. Screen windows and doors; windows and window frames
  15. Siding
  16. Signs

to be performed on or in connection with any building, structure, site, included in an Historic District (HD) or Historic Landmark (HL) Overlay District shall require a Certificate of Appropriateness (CofA). A CofA is required from the City's Historic Preservation Officer (CHPO) prior to doing any repair or remodel work on the exterior of a structure. These applications are handled administratively by staff. If the applicant does not agree with the requirements of the CHPO, the decision can be appealed to the Historic Preservation Board. 

Citizen Participation Plan: A citizen participation plan must state how an applicant will engage surrounding property owners and residents in review of a 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.

Demolition Permit: Before a structure in a historic district or landmark can be demolished it must receive approval from the Historic Preservation Officer. Typically, unless there is an immediate hazard, the request will be denied which will trigger a 6month review process to look for ways to save the structure. At the end of that review
period, if a plan has not been established to save the structure, the structure may then be demolished.
At the end of that review period, if a plan has not been established to save the structure, the structure may then be demolished.

Elevation: The exterior or interior vertical plane or wall of an existing or proposed structure.

Floor Plan: The foot print or horizontal section of each story of a building, showing the layout of rooms, windows, doors, etc.

Historic Overlays: An historic district overlay helps maintain the integrity of an established, older neighborhood and is put into place when an historic district is approved. An historic district overlay is used to help maintain the integrity of an individual property with historic significance. Creation of a district is a zoning action requested by property owners and approved by the City Council following a public hearing. Once a district is in place, property owners must receive approval from the City's Historic Preservation Officer before exterior remodel and repair work can be done.

Historic Preservation Board: The Historic Preservation Board (HPB) is a seven-member citizen advisory committee that makes recommendations to the Downtown Development Committee, the Planning & Zoning Board, the Board of Adjustments, the Zoning Administrator and City Council. The HPB oversees historic preservation on a citywide basis. The HPB is responsible for hearing citizen comments and making recommendations on historic preservation zoning overlays for historic districts and historic landmarks (including archeological sites), as well as requests for demolition, new development within established historic districts, hear and decide appeals regarding proposed development, renovation, alterations, or additions to buildings or structures designated as historic. The HPB establishes and maintains the Mesa Historic Property Register and conducts studies for assessing the potential of buildings, structures, or areas for designation as historic sites or districts. The HPB also makes recommendations to the City Council regarding public policy development for the preservation of historic resources through the City.

As part of each meeting agenda, action may be taken on: historic zoning overlay matters, special use permits, design review cases regarding additions, changes or modifications to historic resources, historic preservation survey projects, applications for historic designation, and other matters affecting established historic resources.

Historic Property Register: The Register has been established for the purpose of listing the landmarks, historic properties and historic districts, as designated under the provisions of Chapter 23 of the Mesa Zoning Ordinance and listed on the National Register of Historic Places. This register serves as the official record of all such designations and shall be maintained by the Historic Preservation Officer (HPO) and available for public reference at the Office of Historic Preservation. Places. This register serves as the official record of all such designations and shall be maintained by the
Historic Preservation Officer (HPO) and available for public reference at the Office of Historic Preservation.

Infill: The conversion of empty lots and other available space in densely built-up urban and suburban areas for use as sites for new commercial buildings and housing.

Review of Application: When an application is deemed complete, the Historic Preservation Officer (HPO) shall proceed with the review process specified in this Ordinance. A hearing shall be scheduled before the Historic Preservation Board (HPB) within 30 days of the application being deemed complete. Following review and recommendation by the HPB, the application shall be reviewed by the Planning & Zoning Board (PZB) at their next available meeting. Following review and recommendation by the PZB, the application will be presented to the City Council at its next available meeting.

Section: An imaginary cut made through a structure and then drawn to show its profile or interior.

Section 106 Review: Are reviews of properties to see if development taking place in the area utilizing federal funding or providing for telecommunications (cell towers) will negatively impact any historic or archeological resource. Section 106 Reviews are done administratively by the Historic Preservation Officer.

Here is a link to the Section 106 Checklist & ACHP Citizen's Guide [PDF]. An application must be completed online.

Site Plan: Like a floor plan, though encompassing an entire property, a site plan is a drawing that is drawn to scale, and includes the elements on the lot: its overall size and the layout of the various buildings on the lot.


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