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Apply to the Historic Preservation Review Board for Concept Review

To apply for Historic Preservation Review Board (HPRB) review, follow the steps below. The application process is managed by the Historic Preservation Office (HPO).

To apply for US Commission of Fine Arts (CFA) review, see guidance about Old Georgetown Review or Shipstead-Luce Review.

Step 1: Contact HPO

Prior to filing for HPRB review, applicants are encouraged to contact HPO staff by email or phone to briefly describe the project. Depending on the project’s size and complexity, HPO can provide advice on what type of information will be necessary for the review and whether a preservation specialist will need to conduct a site visit, provide any information on applicable regulations or design guidelines, and indicate whether the work can be approved administratively by HPO or will need to be filed for HPRB review. 

Step 2: Prepare and Submit the Application

If HPO confirms that HPRB review is required, review the submission requirements and prepare the application. To submit the application, send an email to [email protected] with the completed application form and the materials required for submission.  

Please note:

  • We are no longer accepting in-person filings or print copies of submissions at the Historic Preservation Office (HPO).
  • If submissions are too large to send electronically or you are not able to file electronically, please email us at [email protected] and we will make alternative provisions.
  • Submissions through the DC Department of Building (DOB) ProjectDox system are not automatically forwarded to HPO for filing. You will need to submit a completed application form with all plans and supplemental materials via email to [email protected] in addition to any ProjectDox submissions.

Step 3: Pay Filing Fee and Post Public Notice

After receiving and reviewing your application, HPO will send you a confirmation email with the following information:

  •  An Invoice with instructions on paying the required filing fee
  •  Project Case Number
  •  Public Notice requirement instructions
    • Notice placards, for you to download, print and post on the property.
    • Names and addresses of abutting and confronting property owners to which you are required to provide copies of your plans.

If you do not receive a response to your HPRB submission within 3 days, please check your email spam folder and follow up with HPO at [email protected].

Step 4: Consult with HPO Staff

The HPO staff reviewer for your case will contact you after receiving and reviewing your application. If HPO finds the project consistent with preservation standards, the staff reviewer will advise you on next steps. The HPO reviewer may ask to set up a meeting to discuss the project, make recommendations for design modifications or request additional materials necessary for HPRB review.  You may revise the project plans without resubmitting the application and may also defer the review to a later HPRB meeting if you need more time. If you prefer not to change the plans in response to HPO comments, you may proceed to the HPRB meeting and HPO will present its recommendations in its written staff report.

Any revisions to the initial plans filed must be submitted to the HPO staff reviewer and [email protected] no later than 21 days before the scheduled public meeting date.

Step 5: Share Plans with the Community

HPRB review is an open process that provides for public input.  The HPRB considers not just the application and HPO recommendations, but also public comment from the affected Advisory Neighborhood Commission (ANC) and any other interested groups or persons.  In addition to the requirement that applicants share their plans with neighbors and the ANC, the HPRB encourages applicants to consult with the community to hear any concerns that are raised to see if they can be resolved. 

If the project is relatively small and will affect only a few neighbors, you should consider informing them prior to filing and listening to any concerns.  If the project involves substantial construction or a major project that may affect the broader community, you should consult with HPO and the ANC on the appropriate level of public outreach.  ANCs typically expect consultation to occur before HPRB meets to review the project and may request that a case be deferred for up to 45 days if the commission wants more time for consultation.

Step 6: Prepare for the HPRB Meeting

Once your case is scheduled for HPRB review, HPO prepares a written report and recommendation for the public meeting. This report and the agenda for the meeting are posted on the HPO website the Friday before the meeting. You should be prepared to discuss any recommendations raised in the HPO report at the meeting.

Cases are scheduled for either the HPRB’s consent calendar or the agenda.  If your case is on the consent calendar, you do not need to attend the HPRB meeting.  If the case is on the agenda, you or a representative should plan to participate and present the project and answer questions.  Instructions for participating in the HPRB meeting are emailed to applicants prior to the meeting.

At the meeting, HPRB considers your presentation, the HPO report, and public comments. The Board members evaluate the project and give their recommendations. They may approve the project concept, recommend revisions, or state why the project is not compatible with preservation standards. 

Step 7: After the HPRB Meeting

If HPRB approves the concept, it typically delegates final review of revisions and the permit application to HPO, and you may proceed to develop the plans for a permit application. If you make any significant changes, you should consult with HPO to make sure the changes are consistent with the concept approval. You should also ensure that the affected ANC is aware of any major changes directly related to their expressed concerns.

If HPRB has requested revisions and resubmission of the project for further review, you should consult with HPO to make sure the resubmission is adequate for reconsideration by HPRB. HPO will then reschedule the case for an upcoming HPRB meeting.

Alternatively, if HPRB has found your project concept inconsistent with preservation standards, you may seek review by the Mayor’s Agent, but to file for that review, you must develop architectural plans sufficient for a building permit application and zoning clearance.