Historic Designation


There are four types of historic designation available in Durham. Click on the links below to learn more about the benefits and protections of each.


National Register of Historic Places

Type of Property individual (National Historic Landmark) and multiple (NR Historic District)
Qualification 50 years old (some exceptions);
integrity of historic character;
significance in American history, architecture, archeology, engineering, and culture
Process for Designation – Study List application to SHPO (if not already listed)
– NR nomination to SHPO
– approved by National Register Advisory Committee
Design Review none
Demolition no restrictions
Financial Incentive Tax Credits (qualified rehab costs):Non-Income Producing: 30% NC tax creditIncome Producing: 20% Federal tax credit + 20% NC tax credit
Administration State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO), National Park Service (NPS)

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Local Historic District

Type of Property multiple
Qualification An area of special significance in terms of its history, prehistory, architecture, and/or culture that possesses integrity of design, setting, materials, feeling, and association
Process for Designation – application to DCCPO
– adoption by City Council
Design Review Any exterior changes, additions, demolitions, new construction.  Requires a Certificate of Appropriateness (permit) from HPC.
Demolition 360-day delay
Financial Incentive none
Administration Durham City/County Planning Office (DCCPO),
Historic Preservation Commission (HPC)

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Local Historic Landmark

Type of Property individual
Qualification A property of special significance in terms of its historical, pre-historical, architectural, or cultural importance that possesses integrity of design, setting, workmanship, materials, feeling, and association
Process for Designation – application to DCCPO
– adoption by City Council
Design Review Exterior changes, additions, demolitions, interior changes.  Requires a Certificate of Appropriateness (permit) from HPC.
Demolition 360-day delay
Financial Incentive Local Property Tax: 50% deferral
Administration Durham City/County Planning Office (DCCPO),
Historic Preservation Commission (HPC)

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Neighborhood Protection Overlay

Type of Property multiple
Qualification A neighborhood that:
a. exhibits a consistent, identifiable physical character;
b. has some historical, social, or other type of significance;
c. is at least 25 years old (average age of structures);
d. is a minimum of 15 acres;
e. has a minimum of 75% of its land developed
Process for Designation – application to DCCPO
– reviewed by JCCPC
– adoption by City Council
Design Review Review of limited exterior features, additions, demolitions, new construction by DCCPO.
Demolition no restrictions
Financial Incentive none
Administration Durham City/County Planning Office (DCCPO),
Joint City/County Planning Committee (JCCPC)

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