View of St. Augustine from the Castillo de San Marcos. Source: 1885 St. Augustine City Directory
Historic and cultural resources in St. Augustine are represented by buildings, structures, objects, districts and sites above ground, as well as, under the surface of our streets and landscapes as part of the archaeological record. Our community has a rich heritage of resources from Native American, Spanish, British, and French Colonial interactions and eventual American development into Florida’s statehood. Interpreting, collecting, preserving, and redeveloping these resources falls into the broad category of Historic Preservation.
The Planning and Building Department monitors changes to historic and cultural resources through the issuance of building permits and analyzing comprehensive planning measures in five (5) locally designated historic preservation districts, and seven (7) National Register Historic districts, and throughout the City, including proactive projects for designating and rehabilitating resources managed by the City. Additionally, the Planning and Building Department monitors projects for architectural character in selected overlay zones, namely Anastasia Boulevard, King Street, and San Marco Avenue.
Historic Preservation Master PlanThe City of St. Augustine is currently developing a formalized Historic Preservation Master Plan. To learn more about historic preservation planning generally, the steps being taken to develop St. Augustine's Historic Preservation Master Plan, and how to become more involved in the process, visit the Historic Preservation Master Plan page.
To learn more about the City’s broader historic preservation goals, read the policies set forth in the Historic Preservation Element of the Comprehensive Plan.
To learn more about how applications for development or redevelopment are evaluated, read the Code of Ordinances for Certificates of Appropriateness and Demolition.
To learn about specific design guidelines that apply to development or redevelopment projects in the Historic Preservation Zoning districts, review the Architectural Guidelines for Historic Preservation (AGHP).
To learn about specific design standards that apply to development or redevelopment projects on Anastasia Boulevard, King Street, and San Marco Avenue, review the Design Standards for Entry Corridors (DSEC).
If you are ready to submit an application for a (re)development project in a Historic Preservation Zoning district (HP-1, HP-2, HP-3, HP-4, HP-5) or facing HP-1, HP-2, or HP-3, please select the following application type: Opinion or Certificate of Appropriateness The Historic Architectural Review Board (HARB) will review your application and make a determination based upon the information provided at its next available meeting.
If you are ready to submit an application for a (re)development project on Anastasia Boulevard, King Street, or San Marco Avenue, please select the following application type: Preliminary Design Approval (PDA).
Demolition in the City of St. Augustine
Properties that are recorded on the state inventory of resources (Florida Master Site File), are 50 years old or older, or listed on the National or Local Register (individually or part of a district) require approval by the HARB prior to issuance of a demolition permit no matter what zoning district or location within the jurisdiction of the City the property is located. Demolition of significant historic or cultural resources in the City is taken very seriously and must be supported by adequate documentation as provided on the application form. Please consider alternatives including flexibility within the building code for substantive rehabilitations and financial incentives at the local and federal level when considering whether or not to demolish a structure.
The application is called a Certificate of Demolition and is determined by HARB at the next available meeting. Download the demolition application form and refer to the information provided for necessary attachments.
Historic Preservation Incentives
The first benefit of preserving your historic home or property is the honorary distinction. If your property is in a historic district (national or local register) you may be eligible for a property tax exemption for a major rehabilitation. If it is an income producing property you may be eligible for a federal tax credit. In either of these cases, you should consult with a professional to help you analyze your potential tax benefits.
There are also incentives for rehabilitating a historic structure because there are options for flexibility with the building code. Please consult with the Planning and Building Department for more information.
Grant funds from the Florida Division of Historical Resources are available for historic preservation projects for non-profit and government entities.
Research has proven that properties in a historic district have more stable and increasing property value thereby offering an incentive to maintain the character of the building and promote historic property designation. The value of construction projects on historic buildings is oftentimes higher because of the level of skilled labor and use of local labor and materials which provides a greater local economic impact and encourages the use of sustainable resources.
The City of St. Augustine and the Planning and Building Department staff are constantly working to preserve the City's heritage as the "Oldest City" in the Unites States. At any given time a number of projects are underway.
City Water Works Building
The City is currently working on an exstensive rehabilitation project stabilizing and renovating the old City Water Works building with a State of Florida grant. This work is being done under the direct supervision of the City Historic Preservation Officer within the Planning and Building Department.
An update of the City of St. Augustine National Register District nomination survey was recently completed. This update includes the area that contains the original Town Plan for St. Augustine, which celebrated 450 years in 2015.
A survey was also completed for the Davis Shores, Anastasia Island area including structures 50 years old or older which has helped to define the area, so that an evaluation can be made whether to proceed with an actual National Register District nomination, or at least create a better understanding of the mid-century development of the area.
With funds provided by the Florida Division of Historical Resources grant (awarded in the fall of 2015), plaques have been installed on over 30 historic properties throughout downtown St. Augustine. Selected from the list of buildings already posted on wayfinding directory signs, these locations include original colonial buildings and properties individually listed on the National Register. The markers include references to a mobile website.
Civil Rights Grant
The City recently submitted material to the State of Florida associated with a grant recognizing the contribution of its citizens and establishing landmarks associated with the Civil Rights movement in the United States.
Besides ongoing monitoring and investigation activity associated with building permits. The Archaeology Division designed an educational display for the Visitor Information Center, and with the help of a grant completed a Florida Master Site File inventory.
Preservation staff helped organize a Historic Preservation, Building Codes, and Resiliency workshop, and other discussions to start to understand the implications of Sea Level Rise on historic properties.
Design Guidelines Update
Preservation staff is also deeply involved in the current process to update the Design Standards for Anastasia Boulevard, King Street and San Marco Avenue. The Anastasia Boulevard section was recently completed in September of 2017 with the City initiating the update for San Marco Avenue in October 2017.