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About Historic Preservation

Design Guidelines were established to encourage the rehabilitation and maintenance of existing historic properties and assist in the development of historic neighborhood standards. In judging the merits of a proposal, the criteria established in the Design Guidelines are the basis by which the project is  evaluated. Certificates of Review must be granted through the Design Review process of the City’s Historic Preservation Board prior to the issuance of building and demolition permits.
When was the Historic Preservation Board established?
In 1980 the City Commission adopted Ordinance #2203 relating to historic preservation. This ordinance established the Historic Preservation Board, the Design Review Committee, the composition and duties of the Board and other related procedures. In 1997 Ordinance #3841 was adopted and superseded the original ordinance. This ordinance increased the number of members on the Design Review Committee. A copy of this ordinance is available on this website or in the Community Development Department, City Hall, 228 S.
Massachusetts Avenue, (863) 834-6011. The office is open Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
How many historic districts exist in Lakeland?
Within the City of Lakeland there are seven historic districts, six residential and one commercial. All seven districts are in the central city and contiguous. They are Beacon Hill, Dixieland, South Lake Morton, East Lake Morton, Lake Hunter Terrace, Biltmore/Cumberland and Munn Park. A map of these districts is available on this website and can be downloaded for your convenience or can be obtained in the Community Development Department office.
Are there Design Guidelines available for the Historic Districts and where can I obtain a copy?

Design Guidelines: A Guide to the Exterior Design of Buildings in the Beacon Hill, Dixieland, South Lake Morton, East Lake Morton, and Lake Hunter Terrace, Biltmore/Cumberland was revised in 2006. This manual provides general information about the historic architectural styles in these districts, design principles and elements, and the rehabilitation of historically contributing buildings.

The City of Lakeland Dixieland CRA Commercial Corridor Design Guidelines was adopted in 2004 and addresses the commercial structures located within the Dixieland Community Redevelopment Area located on both sides of Florida Avenue between West Walnut Street and Lenox Street. Both Design Guidelines manuals are available on this website and in the Community Development Department office.

A Guide to Non-Historic Buildings in Munn Park Historic District (May 1985) is another resource and is available on this website or in the Community Development Department office. There is no fee for any of these manuals.

Design guidelines for the Munn Park Historic District follow the U.S. Department of the Interior’s “The Secretary of the Interior’s Standards for Rehabilitation.”

When do I apply for a Certificate of Review/Appropriateness?
Prior to starting any new construction, exterior modifications to existing structures, or demolitions to structures in the historic districts, an application for a Certificate of Review/Appropriateness should be completed. For more information, review “Projects Requiring a Certificate of Review/Appropriateness” on this website or in the Community Development Department. It is important to speak with a Community Development staff member prior to completing an application for a Certificate of Review/Appropriateness.
Are Certificates of Review required for demolitions?
Demolition of principal structures or accessory buildings in historic districts requires a Certificate of Review/Appropriateness whether the building is considered an historic structure or not. Ordinance #3841 Section 10 (3) includes the criteria that must be addressed when requesting a demolition. A copy of this ordinance is available on this website or in the Community Development Department Planning Office. The fee for demolition of principal structures is $170.
Where do I apply for a Certificate of Review/Appropriateness?
Applications are available on this website and in the Community Development Department. It is important to speak with a Community Development staff member prior to completing an application for a Certificate of Review/Appropriateness.
What do I need to provide with a Certificate of Review/ Appropriateness Application?
The requirements will vary depending on the project and work being planned. See the “Design Review Process” document on this website or in the Community Development Department for more details.
Is there a fee for a Certificate of Review/Appropriateness?
For a project costing less than $10,000 there is no fee for a Certificate of Review/Appropriateness. For all other Certificate of Review/Appropriateness work, including demolitions, the fee is $170 due when the application is submitted to Community Development. A $350 fee for work begun without a Certificate of Review/Appropriateness is due when the application is submitted to Community Development. Fees for a building permit may also be required which will be determined by the Building Inspection Division.
How long will the review process take?

The length of time between the Application being submitted and receiving a Certificate of Review/Appropriateness will vary depending upon the complexityof the project. Please review the “Design Review Process” and “Projects Requiring a Certificate of Review/Appropriateness” documents on this website or in the Community Development office for more detailed information. It is important to speak with a Community Development staff member prior to completing an application for a Certificate of Review/Appropriateness.

Must I appear before the Design Review Committee?

In some routine cases, the project may be approved on the telephone with a Community Development staff member. In other cases the applicant or the applicant’s agent must attend the Design Review Committee meeting and be prepared to present the project to the Committee. In addition, the Community Development staff member will present their recommendation to the Committee based on the application and associated documents and their consistency with the Design Guidelines. Questions from the Committee will be directed to the applicant or the applicant’s agent.

When does the Historic Preservation Board’s Design Review Committee meet?
The Historic Preservation Board and the Design Review Committee meet the fourth Thursday of every month at 7:30 a.m. at City Hall.
Do I need a building permit to perform work on the exterior of my home?
In most cases, a building permit will be required for work in an historic district. Most work performed on the exterior of structures in historic districts will require building permits. In some cases, such as fences, the work you plan to undertake would not ordinarily require a building permit if the structure were not located in an historic district. This applies to buildings even if they are not considered historically significant.
Do I need a Certificate of Review/Appropriateness to perform work on the interior of my home?
No, not unless it will affect the exterior of your home in some manner. However, a building permit may be required.