Certificate of Appropriateness (COA)

Jump To:

RHDC COA Committee Meeting Local Historic Designation and COAs Before You Begin Approvals or Permits Issued Key Steps in the Process Submittal Requirements Expected Processing Time Fees Minor Work Process Major Work Process

RHDC COA Committee Meeting

Current Agenda - January 26, 2023

Meeting Date
A public meeting of the Certificate of Appropriateness Committee is scheduled for Thursday, January 26, 2023, at 5:00 p.m.

222 West Hargett Street
Raleigh, NC 27601

Council Chamber

The committee typically meets on the fourth Thursday of the month (check for holidays) at 5:00 p.m. Meeting agendas are added to the BoardDocs agenda management portal. Meetings will be broadcast live on RTN 11 and on our live streaming webpage. To watch past meetings, visit our video services page.

Filing Calendar
Meeting dates and deadlines

How to Participate in an Evidentiary Hearing at the Meeting

All individuals (including but not limited to all applicants, property owners, witnesses, neighbors, and attorneys) with competent and material evidence relevant to a case may participate in the evidentiary hearing.  All remarks and evidence presented should address the project’s congruity with the RHDC’s Design Guidelines for Raleigh Historic Districts and Landmarks. No sign-up is required. Presentations must be emailed to the Historic Preservation Team two business days prior to the start of the meetingTen copies are required for any documents, exhibits, or any other materials brought to the meeting.

Meeting Minutes
Recent COA Committee Minutes

Local Historic Designation and COAs

Local historic designation is designed to protect and enhance the existing character of the community. Through historic overlay district (HOD) zoning, a neighborhood is protected from unmanaged change and historic landmark designation protects individual sites of significance. Any exterior change within a General Historic Overlay District (HOD-G) or Streetside Historic Overlay District (HOD-S) or to a Raleigh Historic Landmark must receive a Certificate of Appropriateness (COA) prior to beginning the work, regardless of other required city permits.

  • Minor Work COA applications are reviewed and approved by staff.(See the submittal guide below)
  • Major Work COA applications are reviewed by the COA Committee of the Raleigh Historic Development Commission in a quasi-judicial evidentiary hearing held once per month. (see the submittal guide below)
  • COA Committee meeting dates and deadlines: The application deadline for Major Works is 30 business days prior to the meeting of the COA Committee. Staff reports are prepared in advance of the meeting and distributed with the agenda.

Past Major Work COA cases and decisions are available on the Certificate of Appropriateness (COA) Cases page. Approved Minor Work COA cases are available on the Development Approvals page.

Before You Begin

Is a COA Needed?

The application must be for exterior work involving a Raleigh Historic Landmark or property in a Historic Overlay District. To determine if exterior changes to your property require a Certificate of Appropriateness, use the iMAPS web application.

The layers to activate are the General Historic Overlay District (HOD-G), Streetside Historic Overlay District (HOD-S), and RHL Polygons.

Design Review Standards

Read the Design Guidelines for Raleigh Historic Districts and Landmarks to ensure the proposed work complies with them PRIOR to applying for a COA.

Minor Work or Major Work?

Applicants are encouraged to review the Certificate of Appropriateness List of Work to determine whether their project is classified as "minor work" or "major work.”

Pre-application Discussion

A virtual meeting with staff is recommended prior to submitting your Major Work COA Application.

Approvals or Permits Issued

  • Certificate of Appropriateness, including COA placard

Key Steps in the Process

  1. Applications and fees must be submitted via a registered account in the Permit and Development Portal.
  2. After submission, staff will make an initial review to determine completeness and if any additional information is required to make a decision. A delay in review time may occur if additional documentation is required.
  3. Complete Minor Work applications.
  4. Complete Major Work applications are placed on the next COA Committee agenda, based upon which COA application deadline date they meet.

Submittal Requirements

Type Description
Required for Submittal
Required for Some Projects
  • Dimensioned site plan drawing (See sample) - Provide existing and proposed conditions; use accurate measurements and noting.
  • Scaled plan, elevation, and detail drawings (existing and proposed).
  • Description of materials/material samples.
  • Detailed manufacturers specifications for new items to be used (doors, windows, etc.) and material samples.
  • Tree protection plan (See sample).
  • Paint Color Schedule & physical paint samples.
  • Major Work requires 8 hard copies after the initial staff review.
  • Major Work requires stamped, addressed, envelopes. Staff will provide the mailing list used to address envelopes after the initial staff review.
Recommended for a Successful Review
  • Labeled photographs of completed work similar to the proposed project within the same historic district.

Expected Processing Time

  • Applications for Minor Work generally take 10 business days upon receipt of complete application to process.
  • Applications for Major Work usually take between 30 to 60 business days to process, depending upon the complexity of the project and whether or not the application is detailed enough that conditions for further staff review are not placed upon the approval. In rare exceptions where an applicant has difficulty fulfilling conditions or supplying information needed by the committee to make a decision, this time period may be extended up to 180 days.


  • Application fees are due at the time of submittal.
  • Submittals are made using the Permit and Development Portal  
  • Development Fee Guide provides specific fees associated with the defined project type (minor work, major work, additions greater than 25% of building square footage, new building, demolition, after-the-fact).

Minor Work Process

  • Applications for Minor Work generally take 10 business days upon receipt of complete application to process.
  • Minor Work applications are approved by historic preservation staff upon determining that the proposed work meets the Design Guidelines for Raleigh Historic Districts and Landmarks, or after working with the applicant to modify the project to meet these standards.
  • After approval, staff will contact the applicant via email regarding mailing of the COA blue placard to address listed on the application. The applicant must then post this placard on site in public view while performing the approved work.
  • Any Minor Work application that staff is unable to approve due to conflict with the Design Guidelines must be converted to a Major Work application for review by the COA Committee.

Major Work Process

  • Complete applications for Major Work COAs usually appear before the RHDC COA Committee within 45 business days. The final decision will vary depending upon the complexity of the project and whether the Committee requests additional information requiring a 2nd hearing. 
  • Decisions made by the Committee are final at the next meeting after the decision is made. 
  • A staff member will be assigned to your case and write a staff report evaluating the work request for congruity with the RHDC Design Guidelines and the special character of the historic district. A copy of the staff report will be posted publicly and emailed to the applicant prior to the hearing.
  • The applicant receives a copy of the meeting agenda and staff report at least 10 days before the meeting and will have a notice sign posted on the property. The owners of properties within 100 feet of the subject property will be sent a letter with a link to the agenda as their notification of the hearing. Notice of the meeting is also published as a legal ad in the newspaper.
  • Staff typically will visit the property as part of the review process. Members of the COA Committee also visit the property as part of their individual review.
  • At the COA Committee meeting, the applicant and any other parties who wish to speak may do so when the case is called during the evidentiary portion of the quasi-judicial hearing. The COA Evidentiary Hearing Procedure describes the process for the quasi-judicial portion of the meeting. The COA Committee then decides to approve, approve with conditions, defer (usually to provide the applicant an opportunity to gather additional information supporting his/her application), or deny the application.
  • After the meeting and following the official adoption of the decision at the next month’s meeting, the applicant will receive a final case record which includes the meeting minutes, the Findings of Fact and Conclusions of Law. 
  • If a Major Work approval includes conditions to be completed prior to the issuance of permits, the applicant must act to meet these conditions before the COA approval placard is released. If a Major Work is approved with conditions that some items be reviewed and approved by staff, all of the items to be reviewed should be submitted at the same time in one package rather than provided piecemeal. The blue placard must be posted in public view while the approved work is being performed.
  • The COA approval placard is issued after conditions are met or at the time the decision is adopted if no conditions.


Lead Department:
Planning and Development
Service Categories:
Historic Preservation