Minor Work Certificate of Appropriateness (COA)

Raleigh Historic Development Commission

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Before Submitting an Application Prepare Application Materials Submittal Instructions Project Review and Permitting Paying Fees

Before Submitting an Application

Is Your Property Locally Designated?

Certificate of Appropriateness (COA) zoning permit approvals are only required for exterior changes to a locally designated historic property. To determine whether your property is located within a local historic district or is a Raleigh Historic Landmark, follow the instructions on the main COA webpage.

Prepare Application Materials

Each property and project is different – it can be tough to know what information you need for a complete application. As you consider what materials to include, put yourself in the shoes of someone unfamiliar with your property and project. Describe the project in detail, including dimensions, materials, and any additional information you believe helpful.

To evaluate a project, City staff needs to know the exact materials, appearance and size of components, colors, how things fit together, and where everything is located. Make it clear what exists versus what is proposed.

Application Materials

An application will not be considered complete until the following required items have been submitted:

Required for ALL Submittals
  • Payment of filing fee (see the Development Fee Guide on the City’s official website for current fees) - Payment must be made online through the Permit and Development Portal.
  • Signed Certificate of Appropriateness application form.
  • Written description of project and materials. Describe your project clearly and in detail. Include exact dimensions for materials to be used (e.g. width of siding, window trim, etc.) Provide material samples, if appropriate.
  • Color photographs of the existing property. Images should include streetscapes, all yards, and each side of the structure.
Required for Most Projects
  • Paint schedule and physical paint samples, when exterior paint is changing color.  Paint samples should be dropped off or mailed to the Historic Preservation unit.
  • Manufacturer's specifications for new items to be used (doors, windows, railings, etc.), including a section drawing.
  • Scaled existing and proposed site drawings. Required for projects that include any decks, porches, fences, walls, or other landscape work (See Site Drawings and Tree Protection for additional information).
    • Plot plan showing buildings, additions, sidewalks, driveways, trees, property lines, etc.
    • Tree survey include size (DBH), species, and critical root zone for each tree greater than 8” diameter when measured 4’ above ground level.
    • Tree protection plan that includes material staging area, construction access, limits of disturbance, location of tree protection fencing.
Required for Some Projects
  • Scaled existing and proposed architectural drawings:
    • Plan drawings (including floor plans, roof plans, etc.).
    • Elevation drawings showing the existing and proposed façade(s). For any project including decks or porches, include the grade.
    • Grading plan that shows the extent of change in elevation to the existing grade.
  • Evidence of the proposed work's congruity with the special character of the historic overlay district or Raleigh Historic Landmark.  Examples include: Sanborn Fire Insurance maps, historic photographs or documentation, labeled photographs as described below, etc.
    • Labeled, current photographs (with address) of historic examples of similar features within the same historic district.
    • Labeled, current photographs (with address) of completed work similar to the proposed project within the same historic district. Check with staff to determine if the work is historic or received a COA.

Submittal Instructions

At this step, your application materials should be ready to assemble. Applications and fees must be submitted online using a registered account in the City’s online Permit and Development Portal.

The system requires three attachments at the time of submittal: the COA application form, a written description, and current property photographs. You can add as many other attachments as needed to provide a complete application. All forms, plans, and supporting documents must be attached as PDFs, Word documents, or JPEGs. Links to online products you wish to install will not be accepted.

Staff will contact you via email once the application is submitted and the fee is paid. A delay in review time may occur if additional documentation is required.

Project Review and Permitting

Expected Processing Time

Minor Work COA applications are reviewed and approved administratively by staff on a rolling basis. Applications generally take 10 business days to process. Reviews can take longer depending on the completeness of the application (see the submittal guide above).

Applications are approved when the proposed work is not incongruous with the special character of the historic district or landmark and meets the Design Guidelines for Raleigh Historic Districts and Landmarks. Staff will work with the applicant to modify the project to meet these standards when possible.

Staff cannot deny a COA request. If staff determines the proposed work to be substantial in nature, not clearly in keeping with the special character of the district and the Design Guidelines, or potentially precedent-setting, the application will be converted to a Major Work COA for review by the COA Committee at their monthly meeting.

Post Approval

After approval, staff will contact the applicant via email and mail the COA blue placard (the zoning permit) to the mailing address listed on the application form. A copy of the COA placard is also attached to the case in the online portal.

Approved Minor Work COA cases dating from 2013 are available on the Development Approvals page. Full physical property files for earlier cases are also available for review by appointment.

The applicant must post the placard on the project site in public view while performing the approved work. The placard must be submitted with your materials to obtain any other required permits.

Inactive Applications

Applications that have incomplete information will kept open for up to six months. After six months, the COA application will be considered invalid, and the application will be voided.

Paying Fees

Application fees are due at the time of submittal. Project review will not begin until the fee is paid.

  • Submittals are made using the Permit and Development Portal.
  • The 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).
  • The Customer Service Center processes payments or you may pay via the Permit Portal.
  • Payment types include Cash, MasterCard, Visa, or check made payable to the City of Raleigh.


Lead Department:
Planning and Development
Service Categories:
Historic Preservation