A local landmark is a house, office building, factory, bridge, or other structure deemed by the city to be historically significant and thus worthy of protection. Historic significance can be based on the design of the building or the notability of its architect. It can also be based on the fame of one of its owners or occupants, or on the building’s role in a historic event. In addition, as a general rule, a structure should be at least fifty years old to be eligible for landmark status.
Benefits of Local Landmark Status
Landmark designation protects the architectural and historic character of the home going forward. Before it can be altered or demolished, the Joliet Historic Preservation Commission must review and approve the plans for any such changes. When making changes to a building, any building that is not landmarked only needs a building permit; landmarked buildings need a building permit and a certificate of appropriateness from the Historic Preservation Commission.
There can be financial advantages for the owners of landmarked buildings, too. A well-maintained house helps to stabilize property values in the surrounding area. Property taxes can be frozen – meaning no increases – for ten years. Also, in some cases, Federal income tax credits for renovations are possible. Contact the Historic Preservation Commission for more details.
What Restrictions Apply to Local Landmarks?
The extra layer of approval for alterations to a landmarked home only applies to exterior modifications that can be seen from the street. Additions or alterations on the back and any interior modifications are not subject to Commission approval. Normal maintenance is not subject to review. Landmark status does not force a landmark owner into restoring the property. If the owner decides to make major changes subsequent to the landmark status, then the review and certificate of appropriateness procedures must be followed. Most landmark owners find these procedures coincide with their desires to maintain and enhance their historical properties. The Joliet Historic Preservation Commission can offer assistance in planning for the changes.
Designation as a landmark district does NOT force residents to bring their houses or buildings up to an architectural standard. The Commission review considers on a case-by-case basis whether proposed changes to properties:
- are compatible with and appropriate to the historic structure,
- will highlight or enhance historic exterior features, and
- harmonize with neighboring properties.
Landmark Your Home!
The Joliet Historic Preservation Commission (JHPC) invites you to consider landmarking your home. Information on the nomination process can be found here.