Historical Landmarks

Eligibility for designation as a historic landmark:

Per Section 28-1139 of the zoning ordinance, a site may be designated as a historic landmark if any of the following applies:

  1. It possesses significance with respect to history, culture, architecture, archeology, paleontology, or as a natural site with a demonstrable cultural association;
  2. It is associated with events that have made a significant contribution to the broad patterns of local, regional, state, national, or international history;
  3. It is associated with the lives of persons significant in local, regional, state, national, or international history;
  4. It embodies the distinctive characteristics of a type, period, or method of construction;
  5. It represents the work of a master designer, builder, or craftsman; or
  6. It represents a distinctive and familiar visual feature of the city.

Applying for Historic Landmark designation:

Submit a completed application for Historic Landmark designation with photos of the property and contributing structures, and any supporting documentation about the property’s historical significance to the City of Waco Planning Services Department here.

Incentives for owning a local historic landmark property:

  • Ad Valorem Tax Exemption: Any property which has been designated as a historic landmark shall qualify for an exemption of City ad valorem taxes, provided that the historic landmark has been determined by the City Council to be a historically or archaeologically significant site in need of tax relief to encourage its preservation. The tax exemption shall exempt from City ad valorem taxation any increase in the assessed value of the building or structure and the land necessary for access and use of the building/structure following the designation by the City Council for a period of 10 years.
  • Permit Fee Refund: After the property has been improved so as to be eligible for a tax exemption, the owner may file an application with the Planning Services Department for refund of permit fees together with a copy of the certificate of the historic preservation commission showing that the property has been granted a tax exemption. Within 30 days of receiving the application for permit fee refund and the City verifies that the property owner is eligible for a refund, the City shall refund the city, building, electrical, mechanical, plumbing, or sign permit fees which were paid for work on the project. This refund will be made to the party who owns the property at the time of the refund.

For more information about tax exemption and permit fee refunds, see Section 28-1141 of City of Waco Historic District and Landmark Zoning. Click here to see Historic Landmark ordinance.

Long-term requirements of owning a local historic landmark property:

Owning a locally designated historic landmark entails a great responsibility to the property. The status of historic landmarks will be monitored by city inspectors, in consultation with the Historic Preservation Officer, on an annual basis to ensure continued compliance with the “Secretary of the Interior’s Standards for Rehabilitation and Guidelines for Rehabilitating historic Buildings” or to ensure against demolition by neglect as stated in section 28-1149 in the Ordinance. For more information about the National Park Service's Historic Preservation Standards and Guidelines please visit their page.

Certificate of Appropriateness

Any owner of a property designated as a historic landmark must obtain a certificate of appropriateness before making any alterations to the exterior of the property which require the issuance of a building permit. The “Secretary of the Interior’s Standards” are made available to owners of Historic Landmarks. The Historic Landmark Preservation Commission uses the Secretary of the Interior’s Standards as a guide when considering an application for a certificate of appropriateness.

See Sections 28-1143 and 28-1144 under the City of Waco Code and Ordinance, Chapter 28 - Zoning Ordinance Article X for procedures of a certificate of appropriateness and criteria for approval of a certificate of appropriateness.