Historic Preservation Applications

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Historic Preservation Development Applications

Certificate of Appropriateness

Making changes to a historic structure and/or district requires a Certificate of  Appropriateness (COA) application.


The Delray Beach Historic Preservation Board reviews all variance requests for properties located within a designated historic district, or for properties individually listed on the Local Register of Historic Places.  An application for a variance must also accompany an associated COA application for the proposed improvement.

Historic Designation

To qualify as a historic site, historic district, historic structure, or historic interior, individual properties, structures, sites, or buildings, or groups of properties, structures, sites, or buildings must have significant character, interest, or value as part of the historical, cultural, aesthetic, and architectural heritage of the city, state, or nation. 

Historic Property Tax Exemption

The Historic Property Tax Exemption is designed to encourage the preservation and rehabilitation of properties that are historically significant. The exemption is available to owner occupied residences and/or income producing properties that are historically contributing to a historic district or those individually listed in the Local Register of Historic Places. 

The exemption is available for 100% of the assessed value of qualified improvements made to property, and for a period of up to 10 years.  For example, if the property is assessed by the Palm Beach County Property Appraiser's office for $100,000 and $25,000 of qualifying rehabilitation improvements are made, the $25,000 will not be assessed for tax purposes for a period of 10 years. At the end of 10 years the property will be assessed at its full value, which will include the $25,000 of rehabilitation costs. 

To help historic property owners determine the advantages of the tax abatement program we have provided the following formula to calculate the tax saving on proposed rehabilitation in terms of the bottom line - tax dollars saved over a 10 year period.

  • Determine the approximate amount of money to be spent on qualifying improvements, for example, $25,000.
  • Multiply 25 by 11.50 (approximate City & County tax millage eligible for abatement).

$11.50 x 25 = $287.50 tax savings per year.

$287.50 x 10 years = $2,875.00 tax savings over 10 years.

Part of the overall project must include visible improvements to the exterior of the structure. The property owner must agree to maintain the qualifying improvements and the character of the property for the period of the exemption. Should the property be sold during the exemption period, the tax exemption is passed on to the new owner. Properties that have already been improved are not eligible for the program, as all qualifying projects must commence after the pre-construction application is approved. Historic properties located within the Community Redevelopment Agency's (CRA) taxing district are eligible for the tax abatement program providing they do not participate in the CRA's interest free loan rehabilitation program.