Certified Local Government FAQs
Your property may be a "non-contributing" structure to the historic district's overall character. Most HDCs consider this fact and have less stringent requirements for non-historic structures. However, exterior changes to ALL structures in the historic district are subject to HDC review to ensure that those changes will not be incompatible with nor detract from the district's historic integrity.
Most of Arkansas' local historic districts are overlaid on the boundaries of a National Register Historic District. However, National Register designation alone does not place any protections on historic properties. Design review by a local historic district commission is the best tool an Arkansas city has to preserve the characteristic architecture of its historic neighborhoods. A number of studies have also shown that locally protected historic districts attract more tourists and feature higher property values than other older neighborhoods.
The CLG program represents a partnership between the National Park Service, AHPP, and Arkansas municipalities to preserve historic resources at the local level. An Arkansas city is eligible to participate in the CLG program if it has a historic district commission (HDC) with design review authority over one or more historic districts in that city.
Only changes to the exterior of a property. This includes windows, doors, walls, roofs, porches, yards, sidewalks, storefronts, signs, etc. Some HDCs also regulate paint colors. However, HDCs cannot consider interior arrangements, zoning, or how a building is used. Additionally, work that does not involve a change in design, materials, or appearance is considered "ordinary maintenance" and typically is not subject to HDC review.
When the HDC approves your proposed work, you will receive a Certificate of Appropriateness (COA). Pick up an application at your city hall. You still must observe all other city building codes and zoning requirements.
The Arkansas Historic Districts Act (ACA 14-172-201 et seq) allows a city to create a historic district commission. But the commission's design review authority can only come from the city's local preservation ordinance.
Cities participating in the CLG program are required to use the Secretary of the Interior's Standards for Rehabilitation when evaluating proposed changes. Many commissions also develop design guidelines that are specific to the architectural character of a particular historic district. Contact your city hall for details.