​​This information will provide homeowners and contractors with a basic understanding of the guidelines used in evaluating the appropriateness of proposed projects involving historic buildings as well as new structures in a historic district. These guidelines are intended to encourage collaboration between the historic district's property owners, members of the building industry and County staff in order to preserve the architectural heritage of the historic district.

In general, the procedures of the Historic Preservation Program are quite streamlined and an applicant should always keep in mind that although obtaining one permit may be contingent upon obtaining approval for other permits, you should always explore the possibility of submitting several applications at the same time. For instance, although a request for zoning relief will not be granted prior to approval of a Certificate of Appropriateness (CA), an applicant could save time and expedite the process by submitting both the CA and zoning relief application at the same time.

STEP 1: Pre-Application Conference

The applicant should contact the Lee County Planning Division and request a pre-application conference while a project is still in a conceptual stage. Because historic homes and vacant lots in a historic district may not conform to many current county regulations, an owner wishing to rehabilitate a historic building or to build a new building should take advantage of the opportunity afforded by the pre-application conference. The pre-application conference, an informal meeting with county staff, is not required but is highly recommended. Get more information

STEP 2: Lee County Historic Preservation Ordinance

Properties within the historic district are designated under the Lee County Historic Preservation Ordinance. In general, improvements to properties designated as contributing properties will be evaluated for compliance with the U.S. Secretary of Interior's Standards of Rehabilitation; and improvements to properties designated as non-contributing will be evaluated for compliance with the specific historic district's guidelines.

STEP 3: Certificate of Appropriateness

An applicant must obtain a Certificate of Appropriateness (CA) prior to applying for a building permit. It is a requirement that an approved CA accompany all building permit applications for properties designated under the Lee County Historic Preservation Ordinance. 

STEP 4: Administrative Relief

Once the CA is issued, an applicant can apply for administrative relief (as allowed by county regulations) in order to deal with some specific problems associated with the proposed project.

STEP 5: Development Order Process

Applicants doing larger projects may be subject to the Development O​rder Process.

STEP 6: Building Permit

After obtaining a CA and any other necessary documentation, the applicant can submit an application for a building permit.