Historic District Frequently Asked Questions

Historic preservation is the practice of recognizing, protecting, using and appreciating our nation’s diverse cultural resources so that generations to come may benefit from them. Encompassing a wide range of resources—including houses, neighborhoods, commercial buildings, downtown, bridges, churches, and public buildings —historic preservation is also an economic and  revitalization development tool that has proven to be an effective way to revitalize neighborhoods and downtown.
Restoration and rehabilitation are two options available when preserving a property. During a restoration, the goal is to accurately depict the form, features and character of a property as it appeared at a particular period of time. To stay true to an era, features added during other periods in the structure’s history must be removed and missing features from the restoration period are reconstructed using all available evidence. Typically restoration is used only for museums. This approach often removes authentic, though not original, historic fabric and replaces it with new material that often includes guesswork on details.

On the other hand, rehabilitation makes possible a modern or contemporary use through repair, alterations or additions to a historic structure. This type of project preserves the significant features of the structure, which convey its historical, cultural, or architectural values and features, including historic changes. This approach is generally preferred by preservationists because it preserves historic fabric from the course of the building’s history. Because it allows for contemporary or adaptive use, it is also the most prevalent preservation treatment.

Typically, a property must be fifty years old or older and must meet the following criteria of significance and integrity.

Criteria of Significance: Properties are evaluated in relationship to major historic and prehistoric themes in a community, state, or the nation. A property may be significant if it relates to any one or more of the following four aspects of American history:

  • Association with historic events or activities,
  • Association with an important person in history,
  • Distinctive design or physical character, or
  • Potential to provide important information about prehistory or

Criteria of Integrity: A property must also maintain enough of the original qualities that make it significant. These qualities of integrity include: location, design, setting, materials, workmanship, feeling, and association.

No, you are not prohibited from making changes to your home. In order to ensure that the changes you make do not negatively affect the historic integrity of your property and cause your property to be delisted from the Register, the National Park Service and the State Historic Preservation Office recommend that you follow the Secretary of Interior’s Standards. Contact the State Historic Preservation Office for additional assistance.
Please contact the Town of Florence Community Development Office to arrange a pre-application meeting to discuss your property and the Historic Design Review process. Staff will help guide you in completing the Historic District Design Review application and returning it to the Community Development office at 224 W. 20th Street.
At this time there are no fees associated with a Historic Design Review application (however, building permit fees may apply).
The Arizona State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO) and statewide preservation organization has created a resource sheet for this purpose. Please click here for SHPO recommended contractors.
The Town recommends coordinating with the State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO) to determine if your property would fall within the criteria of being a Nationally Registered historic property. SHPO contacts are available at http://azstateparks.com/SHPO/staff.html to guide you through the registration process. If determined to be historically significant, then Community Development staff will guide you through the Historic Design Review process to make sure projects meet rehabilitation standards and can be approved by the Historic District Advisory Commission.

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Historic District