Historic Resources

The City’s new permitting and licensing software, Enterprise Permitting & Licensing (EPL) is now live.

A Historic Preservation Ordinance, Chapter 22 – Conservation of Historic Resources Code, has been enacted by the City of Lawrence to help protect and encourage the preservation of Lawrence’s historic and architectural resources. The Ordinance establishes the Historic Resources Commission (HRC) and calls for the establishment of local historic districts and local landmarks.

In addition to the City of Lawrence’s Historic Preservation Ordinance, the State of Kansas has adopted the Kansas Historic Preservation Act (K.S.A. 75-2715 – 75-2725) which provides for the protection of properties listed on the Register of Historic Kansas Places and the National Register of Historic Places. Currently, the City of Lawrence has entered into an agreement with the State Historic Preservation Officer for the HRC to conduct reviews required by this statute in Lawrence.

Listed Properties and Context Areas

The City of Lawrence has developed an interactive map which identifies all historic properties and context areas.

Landmark Designation

The City of Lawrence established the Lawrence Register of Historic Places in 1988. This register identifies architectural characteristics and other historic resources of the city which represent elements of the city’s cultural, social, economic, political, and architectural history. Landmarks and historic districts may include structures, property, interiors of structures, objects, or landscape features.

The Lawrence Historic Resources Commission (HRC) reviews nominations for designation and makes its recommendation to the City Commission. The City Commission is the designating authority for Landmarks and Historic Districts. A pre-application meeting is required before submitting a nomination. Nomination information should include a history of the property, a development history of the area, and photographs of the property. Nomination application may be made through the City’s Enterprise Permitting & Licensing system.

State Preservation Law Review

The City of Lawrence has entered into an agreement with the State Historic Preservation Officer to conduct reviews required by K.S.A. 75-2724. When rezoning, building, demolition or other permit or license is required for work on a state or national register property, the project should be submitted for Historic Resources Commission review using the Design Review application through the City’s Enterprise Permitting & Licensing system.

The Historic Resources Administrator will determine whether the project is “major” or “minor.” Generally, a minor project is any maintenance, repair, replacement that uses materials which are identical to the original or existing materials. A major project is one that uses materials that are different than those that are currently there or changes in appearance to the structure such as additions or modifications.

Minor projects may be approved by the Historic Resources Administrator and a building permit may be obtained from the Building Safety Division. Major projects must be approved by the Lawrence Historic Resources Commission (HRC) at its regular monthly meeting. Meetings are generally held on the third Thursday of the month in the City Commission Room of City Hall (1st floor, 6 E. 6th Street). The HRC may approve, approve with amendments or deny an application. Appeals of the HRC’s determinations may be made to the City Commission.

The Historic Resources Commission uses the Secretary of the Interior Standards and Guidelines for Rehabilitation to make its determination on the proposed project. Failure to comply with the State Historic Preservation Act may result in civil fines up to $25,000.

Certificate of Approval

A Certificate of Approval is required before the following actions affecting a designated landmark or property within a designated historic district may be taken:

  1. Any exterior construction, alteration, or removal requiring a building permit from the City.
  2. Any demolition, in whole or in part, requiring a demolition or building permit from the City.
  3. Any sign permit.
  4. Any development activity or entitlement, including site improvements and the subdivision of land.
  5. Any ground-disturbing projects.
  6. Any improvements or development in the public right-of-way.
  7. Any construction, alteration, demolition, or removal affecting the exterior of a site, structure, or object or any historical feature as specified in the ordinance designating the landmark or the historic district.

A Certificate of Approval is also required before the following actions affecting property within the context area of a landmark or historic district may be taken:

  1. Any exterior construction or alteration visible from the public right-of-way and requiring a building permit from the City.
  2. Any demolition, in whole or in part, requiring a demolition or building permit from the City.
  3. Any sign permit.
  4. Any development activity or entitlement, including site improvements and the subdivision of land.
  5. Any ground-disturbing projects.
  6. Any improvements or development in the public right-of-way.

The context area is 250 feet surround the listed property.

To prevent unnecessary delay in construction, the Historic Resources Administrator will review applications for Certificates of Approval for projects located within the context areas of designated landmarks or historic districts, excluding those projects involving demolition of primary structures, new construction, building additions exceeding 20% of the existing building footprint, or upper-floor additions.

To apply for a Certificate of Approval, submit a Design Review application in the City’s Enterprise Permitting & Licensing system. A pre-submittal meeting is required 7 days in advance of the application submittal. You may also submit this pre-submittal meeting request through the City’s Enterprise Permitting & Licensing system.

Submittal requirements include photographs of the property, scaled elevation drawings of the proposed project, existing and proposed floor plans, materials list, and a site plan. Additional information may be requested depending on the scope of the project.

Frequently Asked Questions