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Project Review

The Historic Preservation Program works to protect the historic resources that represent the City's unique and diverse heritage. The City of Madison contains buildings, structures, signs, features, improvements, sites, and areas that have significant architectural, archaeological, anthropological, historical, and cultural value. Local historic designation ensures that the City's growth sensitively incorporates the City's historic resources.
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Obtaining a Certificate of Appropriateness

Certificate of AppropriatenessExterior work on properties with a local historic designation must secure a Certificate of Appropriateness (CoA) from the Madison Landmarks Commission prior to acquiring a building permit or commencing work. All new project submittals should be emailed to

Electronic Submittal Format
• Individual email cannot exceed 20 MB
• Present in usable file format
• Label email attachments: “Site Plan 1 of 3”, “…2 of 3”, etc.
• If dividing emails to keep under file size limit: “Landmarks Application for 123 Elm Street - email 1 of 4”, “…2 of 4”, etc.) 

Standards for Review
• Landmarks: Secretary of the Interior's Standards for Rehabilitation.
• Local Historic Districts: District Standards.

Staff will be in contact regarding administrative approvals for simple projects, which need pictures of existing conditions, a narrative scope of work, and any supporting materials or product specifications. Projects that require Landmarks Commission approval need to meet all submittal requirements on page 2 of the Landmarks Commission Application.

While smaller projects can be approved administratively, larger projects must be reviewed by the commission. Please see the commission schedule for submittal and meeting dates.

Walk Through of Process
For more information on how to obtain a Certificate of Appropriateness, please see the video below:

Obtaining a Certificate of Appropriateness Video

What is a Certificate of Appropriateness? Go to second 50
How to fill out the Landmarks Commission form? Go to minute 2:24
Administrative Approval process? Go to minute 6:00
What standards are we using for designated landmarks? Go to minute 7:41
What is contained with it the Historic District Standards? Go to minute 10:00

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Landmarks and Local Historic Districts

Landmarks and Local Historic Districts retain and enhance buildings and places that are historically or architecturally significant to the City of Madison. The Landmarks Commission must approve exterior work, new construction, and demolitions on properties in the local historic districts and designated landmarks. These approvals help to protect the historic character of buildings, streetscapes, and neighborhoods as they evolve for ongoing uses.
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Designating a Landmark or Local Historic District

For information on how to nominate a property or district, please contact our office.
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National Register of Historic Places

The National Register of Historic Places is the nation's list of historically significant cultural resources. It recognizes properties, including archaeological sites, that are significant not only nationally, but also regionally and locally. There are many National Register Historic Districts and numerous individually designated properties in Madison.

National Register designation is honorary and includes financial incentives in the form of two kinds of tax credits; one for the rehabilitation of income-producing property and one for the rehabilitation of single-family residences. Visit the Wisconsin State Historical Society website for more information about these tax credits. The Madison Landmarks Commission is not involved in management of the National Register program, but encourages property owners to explore that program.

Slaughter-Shuttleworth House
The Slaughter-Shuttleworth House


Last Updated: 11/17/2022