Design Review Process

North Carolina State Law requires a Certificate of Appropriateness (COA) before any material alterations are made to a designated local historic landmark. A COA is required in Mecklenburg County before a building permit or a demolition permit can be issued for an historic landmark. Charlotte-Mecklenburg Historic Landmarks reviews proposed significant material alterations. Minor material The Historic Landmarks Commission's (HLC) Standards for Rehabilitation are used to judge the appropriateness of all projects and are based upon the Secretary of the Interior's Standards for Rehabilitation.

HLC Standards

Rehabilitation is defined as the act or process of making possible a compatible use for a property through repair, alterations, and additions while preserving those portions or features which convey its historical, cultural, or architectural values.

  • A property shall be used for its historic purpose or be placed in a new use that requires minimal change to the defining characteristics of the building and its site and environment. 
  • The historic development, such as adding conjectural features or architectural elements from other buildings, shall not be undertaken. 
  • Each property shall be recognized as a physical record of its time, place, and use. Changes that create a false sense of historical development, such as adding conjectural features or architectural elements from other buildings, shall not be undertaken.
  • Most properties change over time; those changes that have acquired historic significance in their own right shall be retained and preserved. 
  • Distinctive features, finishes, and construction techniques or examples of craftsmanship that characterize a historic property shall be preserved. 
  • Deteriorated historic features shall be repaired rather than replaced. Where the severity of deterioration requires replacement of a distinctive feature, the new feature shall match the old in design, color, texture, and other visual qualities and, where possible, materials. Replacement of missing features shall be substantiated by documentary, physical, or pictorial evidence. 
  • Chemical or physical treatments, such as sandblasting, that cause damage to historic materials shall not be used. The surface cleaning of structures, if appropriate, shall be undertaken using the gentlest means possible. 
  • Significant archeological resources affected by a project shall be protected and preserved. If such resources must be disturbed, mitigation measures shall be undertaken. 
  • New additions, alterations, or related new construction shall not destroy historic materials that characterize the property. The new work shall be differentiated from the old and shall be compatible with the massing, size, scale, and architectural features to protect the historic integrity of the property and its environment. 
  • Alterations, new additions, and adjacent or related new construction shall be undertaken in such a manner that if removed in the future, the essential form and integrity of the historic property and its environment would be unpainted.character of a property shall be retained and preserved. The removal of historic materials or alteration of features and spaces that characterize a property shall be avoided. 3. Each property shall be recognized as a physical record of its time, place, and use. Changes that create a false sense of historical

Application Instructions

Complete the Certificate of Appropriateness Application


The fee for a minor works COA is $100. The fee for a majors works COA is based on the estimated cost of the project. Please contact the Historic Landmarks office at 980-314-7660 if the subject property is tax exempt.

Required Fees
Estimated Project CostMajor Works Review Fee
0 -$100,000$200
$100,000 - $200,000$300
$200,000 - $500,000$500
$500,000 - $750,000$750
$750,000 - $1,000,000$1,000
$1,000,000 and up$1,000.00 + $500/additional $500,000 value



Fees can be paid through a LUESA Contractor’s Account. Payment can also be made in the form of a check. Make checks out to “Mecklenburg

Checks can be mailed or delivered to:
Charlotte-Mecklenburg Historic Landmarks
2100 Randolph Road, Charlotte, N.C. 28207

Submissions Timeline

All applications for COAs must be submitted electronically via the “Apply” link above. To be scheduled for review and consideration, the full application (including payment of fees) must be received by 4:30 p.m. EST at least 30 days prior to the Historic Landmarks Commission (HLC) meeting at which you would like to have the application reviewed. HLC typically meets monthly on the second Monday of each month, starting at 6 p.m. Timely submitted full applications will usually be scheduled and reviewed at that next HLC meeting. However, complicated projects or projects that could benefit from review by other government agencies or community groups may require additional review time. Staff has the discretion to limit the number of properties reviewed at any meeting.

All applications for COAs shall be reviewed and acted upon within 180 days from the date the full application for a COA is filed.