Q: What is a Certificate of Appropriateness (COA)?
A: A COA is a formal approval letter issued by either the Historic District Commission or Planning and Zoning Department that certifies the proposed scope of work complies with historic district requirements.
Q: When is it appropriate to apply for a COA?
A: Applicants can apply for a COA at the same time as they apply for a building permit. The process involves filling out the COA Application Supplement here(PDF, 224KB), in addition to standard permit application forms.
Q: When I get my COA, can I begin construction/demolition immediately thereafter?
A: No. Issuance of a COA does not constitute issuance of a permit. A permit will be issued once all other applicable local, state and federal codes are met.
Q: What specific development activity will require a Certificate of Appropriateness?
A: 1. Demolition of a historic structure, if located in a historic district / designated landmark
2. Exterior renovation of a historic structure, if located in a design review corridor(PDF, 2MB) or local landmark(PDF, 67KB)
3. New construction or addition, if located in a design review corridor(PDF, 2MB) or local landmark(PDF, 67KB)
4. Signs within design review corridors
Q: What is a Design Review Corridor?
A: "Design Review Corridor" refers to a smaller, commercial "Main Street" area mapped within a Historic District. In these areas, a COA is required for new construction, additions, and renovations to better ensure that commercial development along each Main Street is compatible with the unique character of the district.
Q: What is a Local Landmark?
A: Local landmarks are structures located either within or outside a historic district that are designated by the Parish Council for its special significance in terms of its historical, architectural, or cultural importance to the Parish.
Q: How does the Historic District Commission review/consider applications?
A: Both the Secretary of the Interior's Standards for the Treatment of Historic Properties(PDF, 18MB) and the Louisiana Speaks Pattern Book(PDF, 15MB) are considered by the Historic District Commission when making decisions regarding a COA.
Q: How can I find out if my property is historic?
A: Each historic district is surveyed to determine if a property is historic. If you would like to know if your property is contributing structure of a historic district, feel free to search existing historic properties here(PDF, 182KB) or contact the Planning and Zoning Department.
Q: Will I have to renovate my residential structure?
A: Only in limited circumstances, when the alternative is the building falling into such disrepair that it can no longer be preserved. For example, when a historic structure is in disrepair and at risk of significant architectural or structural deterioration, the property owner may receive a notice that they are in violation of demolition-by-neglect. Upon receipt, the property owner should first attempt to repair and prevent further damage to the structure. If unable to do so, they should apply for a Certificate of Appropriateness before preforming any demolition on site. Demolition without a COA and permit can result in significant fines and penalties.
Q: How can I find out more about historic rehabilitation tax credits?
A: Structures within the historic districts and local landmarks may be eligible for historic rehabilitation tax credits. This program is administered by the Louisiana Office of Cultural Development Division of Historic Preservation. Please contact their office for more information at 225-342-8160.
Q: What are cultural districts?
A: In addition to establishing local historic districts, the Parish has also received approval from the State to establish four Louisiana cultural products districts, which provide tax incentives for historic renovations and the sale of one-of-a-kind art. Please contact the Planning and Zoning Department for more information about this program.