Local historic districts have been designated by the City because they contain buildings with unique architectural and historic significance. Properties within the historic districts are subject to special historic preservation zoning, which means that any exterior alterations made to the property must first be approved by the Historic District Review Commission. This is done to ensure that the historic quality of the buildings and neighborhoods is maintained.
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Any homeowner must obtain the proper building permits from the City for structural work on their homes, in order to ensure that building codes are satisfied. Exterior work on homes within the historic districts must also be reviewed by the Historic District Review Commission (HDRC) to ensure that the historic character of the home is not compromised. Once the proposed changes have been approved by the HDRC, a Certificate of Appropriateness (COA) will be issued.
COA Application »
There are a couple of different plaques that you may see throughout the historic districts. One is the shape of Clay County. The county selected certain homes as important landmarks and identified these with a plaque. Another may be a plaque that says the building is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. This is an honorary designation that does not place any restrictions on the property.
There may also be a Century House plaque, which identifies the year the house was built. The City of Liberty's Century House Project was created to celebrate the rich history of architecture in Liberty. Owners of Liberty houses and commercial buildings 100 years or older are invited to participate in the program.These plaques are available for purchase for any building that is 100 years old or older. Learn more and apply»
A Certificate of Appropriateness (COA) is necessary for obtaining a building permit for exterior work on a structure within the City's historic districts. An application is available online or from the Community Development office on the third floor of City Hall.
You will be asked to briefly describe the work proposed and list the materials to be used. You and your contractor may already have this information at hand as part of the building permit process. The Historic District Review Commission meets twice a month to review applications. Meetings are open to the public, and the applicant is encouraged to attend.
The Community Development Office is available to provide information about historic homes, answer renovation questions, and assist with the application process. The Design Subcommittee of the Historic District Review Commission convenes as needed to consult with property owners about bigger projects. Comprised of HDRC members, this group is able to answer questions, make suggestions and assist with details in the planning phase of a project. Frequently, they will visit the worksite itself in order to better understand the project. Their services are offered free of charge.
There are certain tax rebates and loan programs available to homeowners who are restoring an historic home. In order to be eligible, work must conform to city historic guidelines and the National Register guidelines for historic preservation. Contact the Preservation Planner at 816-439.4537 or via email for more information about these programs.
No. You may alter the interior of your property without approval of the Historic District Review Commission (HDRC), but remember that interior alterations would be subject to any necessary building permits.
The Historic District Review Commission follows two documents when considering applications for a certificate of appropriateness: the Historic Preservation section of the Unified Development Ordinance (city codes), and the Historic District Design Guidelines, which are recommendations for the treatment of historic properties. Information about these documents can be obtained through the links above or from the Community Development Manager on the third floor of City Hall.
Unlike neighborhood associations, the city may not force homeowners to do more than comply with basic safety and building codes. In general, the community has not welcomed interference with the rights of private property owners. Derelict properties do drag down the value of the homes around them, however, and community attention and assistance to the needs of neighbors will always be welcomed.
Well, you may, as long as no city codes are violated. Liberty has chosen to make preservation of its historic neighborhoods a priority, however, since it is these neighborhoods that give Liberty its distinctive character and attractiveness. Your community and property values are only enhanced by proper care of your home.
There is no charge for applying for, or receiving a Certificate of Appropriateness. There are fees associated with obtaining a building permit, however, if one is required for your project.
Building Permit info»
Recent years have shown that vinyl does a poor job of protecting the home underneath. Moisture is sealed in, so the structure cannot “breathe”. This provides a haven for termites and bacteria which eventually destroy the structure underneath. Cost is often a consideration for choice of siding or window materials, however there are other better options. The Community Development Manager can provide you with information about other man-made materials which offer better durability at reasonable cost. In addition, state income tax credit programs are available to help with renovation costs only if appropriate materials are used. Use of vinyl will disqualify a home from these programs.
Our Historic Design Guidelines are also a great source of information. The guidelines were written to assist property owners when planning an improvement project, to ensure that the proposed work will help preserve the historic character of the property and the neighborhood. Remember that any exterior changes to property located within the historic districts are subject to review before the project begins.