Why designate a historc property? | How landmarks are designated
Criteria for local designation | State and National historic designations
Tax incentives for historic properties | Useful preservation information
Why designate a historic property?
Historic designation helps identify properties that deserve protection, which helps government and private groups when planning new development. Historic properties receive extra consideration when federal projects (such as highways) are proposed and designed (see brochure). Designation also helps guide visitors to places of historic interest. In addition, designated properties have priority access to Historic Preservation Commission (HPC) staff for technical assistance, and designation may help qualify for rehabilitation grants or tax incentives.
Designation also carries responsibilities. Before making any changes to the exterior (including color changes), the owner must obtain a Certificate of Appropriateness from the HPC, certifying that the changes are historically appropriate under the guidelines given in the Design Guidelines for Historic Commercial and Residential Districts and Properties. Please refer to the Historic Overlay Zoning Q&A page for more information.
How landmarks are designated
In Round Rock, historic landmarks are designated by applying Historic Overlay Zoning in addition to the property’s base zoning. The Historic Overlay Zoning District (Section 46-107) identifies properties that merit extra consideration when planning new development in the area, and helps interested parties identify the places that have shaped the community. It also helps the owner qualify for tax incentives to preserve and maintain the property.
To be designated, the property must satisfy certain criteria (below) and the applicant must have the owner’s permission to apply. Applications are reviewed by the Historic Preservation Commission and Planning & Zoning Commission, and decided by the City Council.
Criteria for Local Historic Designation
The following criteria are considered in determining whether the Historic Overlay Zoning District should be applied to a structure, site or area of the city (full criteria is given in Ordinance Section 46-107 (c)):
- Historic designation by the National Register of Historic Places or Texas Historical Commission.
The property’s role in the development, heritage or cultural characteristics of the City, State or other society;
- Occurrence of a notable event on the property;
- Identification of the property with a person(s) who contributed notably to the culture and development of the City, State or other society;
- Distinctive elements of architectural design, material or craftsmanship, or the distinctiveness of a craftsman, master builder or architect, or a style or innovation;
- Archaeological value that the property can be expected to yield; or
- Other unique historical value
State and National Historic Designations
The State of Texas recognizes three types of designations for historic and prehistoric properties: Recorded Texas Landmark, Historic Texas Cemetery and State Archaeological Landmark. The Texas Historical Commission (THC) administers these designations, as well as Texas’ contributions to the National Parks Service’s National Register of Historic Places. The National Register includes historic buildings, sites, objects, structures and districts. The Round Rock Commercial Historic District is a National Register Historic District. This article from the Texas Historical Commission’s Medallion newsletter, Test Your National Register Knowledge, explains the different designations.
Tax incentives for historic properties
Round Rock’s partial property tax exemption for historic properties program is separate from the historic designation program, and has slightly different qualification criteria. The program offers an exemption of 75% of City property taxes as an incentive for proper maintenance and preservation.
At the federal level, the National Park Service and Internal Revenue Service, in partnership with the Texas Historical Commission, also offer tax incentives to encourage historic preservation.
Useful Preservation Information Historic Preservation Programs
(brochure)Information for Owners of Older and Historic Buildings
(brochure)Certificate of Appropriateness ApplicationDesign Guidelines for Historic Commercial & Residential Districts & Properties Texas Historical Comission National Register Of Historic Places Protecting Historic Properties: A Citizen's Guide to Section 106 Review
Zoning Ordinance: Section 46-70 Creates the Historic Preservation Commission (HPC)
Section 46-99 Certificate of Appropriateness
Section 46-107 Historic (H) Overlay District designation process
Section 46-108 Partial Tax Exemption for Historically Significant Sites
Section 46-157 Historic Overlay (H) District definition
Contact Joelle Jordan at (512) 218-5422 for additional information.
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