Historic Resources

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.

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.

State Law Review

When rezoning, building, demolition or other permit or licence is required for work on a state or national register property, the project is submitted to the Lawrence Historic Resources Commission for review (PDF). Project materials are submitted the Lawrence Douglas County Planning Office according to the submission schedule. The City of Lawrence has entered into an agreement with the SHPO for the HRC and the Historic Resources Administrator to conduct the required state law reviews at the local level.

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.

Application Process and Required Documents

A presubmittal meeting is required for Landmark and Historic District Nominations. Completed applications (PDF) shall be submitted to the Planning Office and include a legal description of the property and a property ownership list certified by the County for properties within 250 feet.

  • Applicants are encouraged to have a presubmittal meeting with the Historic Resources Administrator.
  • Items for consideration at a meeting shall be submitted to the Planning Office in a completed format by the submittal date shown on the HRC calenders (PDF).
  • Typical submittal materials include the application (PDF), existing photographs, to scale elevation drawings, floor plans, materials list and a statement about the proposed project. (Please note additional materials may be required.)
  • For State Law Reviews and Certificate of Appropriateness (COA): applicants need to submit one paper copy of all information and one electronic copy.  For properties needing State Law Review & COA: applicants need only submit one paper copy of all information and one electronic copy.
  • For Certificates of Appropriateness (COA) or Certificates of Economic Hardship (COE) Reviews: One paper copy and one electronic copy.

Please contact Lynne Braddock Zollner, Historic Resources Administrator, at the Planning Office to obtain an application and schedule a presubmittal or review meeting by calling (785) 832-3159.

Frequently Asked Questions

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