DEPARTMENT OF CITY PLANNING

Historic Preservation

City Planning's Historic Preservation work is guided by PreservePGH, the Pittsburgh Cultural Heritage Plan, completed in 2012.

 

The City of Pittsburgh is home to 15 historic districts. These districts are set up to preserve, rehabilitate, and continue to use historic buildings. In areas with a historic designation, the Historic Review Commission oversees any potential demolition, addition to, or alteration of the exterior of structures. A list of City-designated historic nominations, districts, and structures can be found here.

If you want to do exterior work to a property that's City-designated, approval by the Historic Review Commission is required.  

 

How to Apply for Project Review

You must complete a Zoning & Development Review (ZDR) Application online at OneStopPGH and pay the appropriate filing fee. An application for a Certificate of Appropriateness (COA) is also required to be submitted as part of the ZDR application. Please submit the Application for a Certificate of Appropriateness form and any drawings, photographs, or other related documents within the OneStopPGH portal.

Completed applications must be received at least 13 business days prior to the HRC hearing when a hearing is required. In order to confirm your spot on the agenda, you must confirm that your application has been received by emailing historicreview@pittsburghpa.gov.

  • Complete a Zoning & Development review application at OneStopPGH
  • Complete and submit the Application for a Certificate of Appropriateness form with your OneStopPGH application
  • Upload drawings, photographs, and product information
  • Email historicreview@pittsburghpa.gov with questions

 

How to Apply for Historic Nominations

A property's owner of record or any person presently residing in the City of Pittsburgh who has established residency in the City for at least one year may submit a historic nomination. Please note that a nomination of a religious structure may not be possible and historic district nominations are subject to additional requirements.

To start the historic nomination process:

  • Complete and review your draft Historic Nomination form with Historic Preservation staff prior to submitting to OneStopPGH.
  • Upon preliminary staff approval, complete a Historic Nomination application at OneStopPGH and pay applicable fee. Link to City Planning Fee Schedule. Fees are non-refundable. Historic Nominiation applications are under Planning Application -> Historic Nomination Application.
  • Once submitted to OneStopPGH, staff will review the nomination for correctness and completeness. Additional information may be required.
  • A nomination is accepted once Historic Preservation staff signs the Historic Nomination Form.
  • Staff will notify the property owner via mail of the nomination.
  • A Development Activities Meeting is required 30 days before the Historic Review Commission (HRC) public meeting.
  • At the public HRC meeting, the Commission will consider the nomination. HRC hears testimony from the nominator, City staff, the property owner, and general public. If considered favorably, the Commission provides a recommendation to City Council.
  • In addition to Historic Review Commission, nominations are also considered by Planning Commission at a public meeting. If considered favorably, the Planning Commission provides a recommendation to City Council.
  • City Council holds a public meeting on the nomination.
  • City Council makes the final decision regarding whether a property or district is worthy of historic designation. If approved, the property will be listed on the CIty register.

Once a nomination application is submitted to OneStopPGH and Historic Preservation staff determines it is a complete application, the process takes roughly nine months for a nomination to move from submission to a City Council decision. Once a historic nomination is approved, all external alterations to an individually listed property or those in a historic district are subject to review and approval by Historic Preservation Staff or the Historic Review Commission, depending on the scope of work. Violations are subject to citation by the Department of Permits, Licenses, and Inspections and are treated the same as any building code violation. See the Historic Preservation Code for more information.

 

Economic Benefits

Historic preservation plays a vital role in communities across Pennsylvania, providing a multitude of benefits for the Commonwealth and its residents. One category of benefits associated with historic preservation activities is economic benefits. Historic preservation efforts can have significant positive impacts on property values, downtown revitalization, tourism, job creation, and tax revenue generation.

This project was support by a Preserve America grant from the National Park Service and administered by the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission.

 

Additional Historic Preservation Resources:

If you have questions, please contact historicreview@pittsburghpa.gov.