If you are thinking about requesting a local historic district, we ask that you first please provide a community forum for a brief presentation by HDAB staff.
The historic designation process is initiated when any person residing, doing business, or owning property in Detroit submits a request to City Council. The procedure for establishing new historic districts is described below (see Section 21-2-31 of the 2019 Detroit City Code for more information):
I. Initial Request
A request is sent to City Council to consider a proposed designation. The request should state the reason the designation is being sought and describe the significance of the proposed district with respect to at least one of the evaluation criteria. It should also precisely describe the location of the proposed district by providing specific street addresses or by describing the proposed district’s boundaries. The request must be in the form of a letter addressed to:
Detroit City Council
c/o Detroit City Clerk
200 Coleman A. Young Municipal Center
Detroit, MI 48226
Please also send a copy of the request to:
Historic Designation Advisory Board
218 Coleman A. Young Municipal Center
Detroit, MI 48226
The City Clerk will then assign a petition number to the request, and forward it to City Council. The petitioner will receive a postcard from the City Clerk, including the petition number, to confirm receipt of the request. A waiting period may then occur, as requests for designation are generally addressed by City Council in the order in which they are received.
II. Study Period
City Council, at its discretion, may adopt a resolution directing the Historic Designation Advisory Board to study the proposed district, as well as appoint two ad hoc members to the Board. The study itself usually takes between four to six months due to ordinance requirements.
III. Preliminary Report
The Historic Designation Advisory Board staff prepares a Preliminary Report, describing the historic and architectural value of the proposed district, and presents it to the Historic Designation Advisory Board at its regular meeting for review. The Historic Designation Advisory Board then schedules a public hearing on the proposed district, which provides an opportunity for all interested parties to express their views. Interested parties are encouraged to attend if possible, or may also express their opinions in writing to the Historic Designation Advisory Board prior to the public hearing.
IV. Final Report
The Historic Designation Advisory Board prepares a Final Report, describing the historic and architectural value of the proposed district, and presents it to City Council. The Final Report will contain a recommendation for or against designation, and, if the recommendation is for designation, it will also contain a draft ordinance for City Council consideration.
City Council may then, at its discretion, introduce the ordinance of designation. City Council would then follow the ordinary course for the passage of an ordinance, including a public hearing before the Council. After the ordinance passes, the local historic district will be in effect and become regulated and protected by public review through the Historic District Commission. Detroit contains roughly 140 local historic districts.