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Historic Preservation Office

DC Office of Planning - Historic Preservation logo image

The Historic Preservation Office (HPO) promotes stewardship of the District of Columbia's historic and cultural resources through planning, protection and public education. HPO is an integral component of the Office of Planning and serves as the staff to the Historic Preservation Review Board (HPRB) and Mayor's Agent for historic preservation. HPO also implements federal historic preservation programs as the State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO) for the District of Columbia.  

Mayor's Agent

Under the Historic Landmark and Historic District Protection Act, the Mayor's Agent, J. Peter Byrne, is required to hold a public hearing on a permit application in the following instances:
  • Demolition of a historic landmark or building contributing to the character of a historic district.
  • Subdivision of a historic landmark property (including division or assembly of land).
  • In cases where the applicant claims unreasonable economic hardship or proposes to construct a project of "special merit".
  • Upon request of an applicant having received a recommendation for denial from the Historic Preservation Review Board or Commission of Fine Arts.
  • In any other case deemed appropriate by the Mayor.
  • For a permit to be issued after the public hearing, the Mayor's Agent must find that failure to issue the permit would result in unreasonable economic hardship to the owner, or that issuance of the permit is necessary in the public interest.
  • "Necessary in the public interest" is defined to mean consistent with the purposes of the Historic Landmark and Historic District Protection Act, or necessary to allow the construction of a project of special merit.
  • A "project of special merit" is defined to mean a plan or building having significant benefits to the District of Columbia or to the community by virtue of exemplary architecture, specific features of land planning, or social or other benefits having a high priority for community services.

State Historic Preservation Office

Designated by the Mayor, the State Historic Preservation Officer (SHPO) for the District of Columbia, David Maloney, is responsible for protecting the District's unique historical, archaeological, architectural, and cultural resources. This responsibility is shared with each federal agency that administers properties or undertakes construction activities in Washington, DC. Each year the SHPO prepares an Annual Work Plan to help the District meet its long-term historic preservation goals.
The District of Columbia Historic Preservation Review Board, a group of private citizens appointed by the Mayor to represent professional and community viewpoints in the historic preservation process, advises the SHPO on matters relating to Section 106 review. The Historic Preservation Office serves as staff to the SHPO and the Historic Preservation Review Board.

historic.preservation@dc.gov