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Historic Preservation Incentives

Preservation Incentive Types
Properties included on the Historically Significant Structures Property List may be eligible for the following voluntary preservation incentives:

1.  Alternative Bulk Zoning Regulations – Properties on the List and located in the R-1, R-2, R-3, and R-4 Single Family Residential Districts may be eligible for alternative zoning regulations that allow for design flexibility to help families modernize their historic homes, construct building additions, or complete other exterior improvements. A property owner constructing an addition may be eligible for bulk zoning requirements that they otherwise would not be able to take advantage of if pursuing demolition and new construction, including the waiving of floor area ratio (FAR) and building height, reduced setbacks, and increased lot coverage. Alterative bulk regulations are available through an expedited process granted in lieu of the full variation process by the Zoning Boards of Appeals and possibly the Village Board. In the event additional zoning relief is needed beyond the alternative bulk zoning regulations, the Variation Standards listed in Section 11-503(F) of the Village’s Zoning Code have been amended to support variation cases where historic preservation efforts are made to a local landmark or a property on the Historically Significant Structures Property List. 

2.  Fee Waivers – Village fees may be waived for building permits, landmark or historic district designation applications, Certificate of Appropriateness applications, and other zoning applications.  Please note some fees are not eligible to be waived, including bonds and fees by outside consultants

3.  Expedited Processes – Expedited processing of building permits and applications for landmark designation, historic district designation, and other zoning approvals may be provided for certain projects.

4.  Property Tax Rebate – Property owners may be eligible to receive a rebate for the Village portion of their property tax bill in exchange for substantial exterior alterations, rehabilitation, or restoration work over a maximum five (5) year period. To be considered for this incentive, a minimum investment of $50,000 is required on eligible costs, which could include construction costs for exterior improvements and costs for architectural, planning, engineering, design services, and historic preservation services. The Village would provide a rebate to the property owner at the end of each year after an approved project is completed, final inspections are passed, the property tax bill is paid in full, and a Property Tax Rebate Reimbursement Request is submitted to the Village. Benefits may be transferred to subsequent property owners.

Example of the Property Tax Rebate: If the Village portion of a property tax bill collected in 2020 was $2,500, a property owner could be eligible to receive a rebate of approximately $12,500 over five (5) consecutive years after completing eligible exterior improvements. The actual amount for the Village portion of a property tax bill may vary annually due to changes in the assessed value or other factors, so please note this number is an estimate only. 

5.  Historic Preservation Fund Matching Grants – The Village Board may approve funding for 50% of eligible project costs, up to a maximum of $10,000 per project provided by the Village, with a minimum investment of $20,000 required by the applicant. Applicants can apply for smaller projects with eligible costs less than $20,000. For example, in a case where an eligible project costs $10,000, an applicant may be eligible for $5,000 in grant funding provided by the Village. Funds are reimbursed to the applicant after all work is completed, inspected, and approved by the Village and after all contractors have been paid by the applicant. Funding can be approved for the completion of eligible exterior improvements or other activities that further preservation efforts, such as hiring a historic preservation specialist to complete surveys, historic assessment reports, feasibility studies, National Register nominations, and tax credit applications. The program can also fund Village-led initiatives and special projects such as signage, preservation plans, or design guidelines.

* Available funds for the Historic Preservation Fund are determined by the Village Board of Trustees as part of the annual budget process. Gifts and donations from private or public sources and fundraising efforts can also provide funding.

Eligible Exterior Improvements 
Construction costs for eligible exterior improvements as well as costs for architectural, engineering, design, or historic preservation services (such as historic surveys, historic assessment reports, feasibility studies, National Register nominations) are eligible for funding subject to approval by the Historic Preservation Commission and Village Board. The following are not eligible: 
  1.  Painting
  2.  Landscaping
  3.  Fences
  4.  Driveways, sidewalks, and other paved areas
  5.  Reversible appurtenances, including air conditioning units, gutters, downspouts, antennas, satellite dishes and mail boxes
  6.  Routine maintenance and cleaning
  7.  New detached garages or changes to existing detached garages, unless the detached garage is considered a historically significant structure
  8.  Any accessory building or structure other than a garage (e.g., shed, rear deck, patio, trellis, etc.), unless the accessory building or structure is considered a historically significant structure.
  9.  Interior improvements or work.
Incentives will not be provided for work completed prior to the review and approval by the Historic Preservation Commission or Village Board.

Preservation Incentive Application and Approval Process
1.  Submittal of a Preservation Incentive Certificate Application – Following the submittal of an application to the Village, approval of a Preservation Incentive Certificate by the Historic Preservation Commission, and the Village Board for some application types, is required prior to initiating a project to ensure that proposed exterior improvements are consistent or compatible with the historical nature of the structure.

2.  Approval of a Preservation Incentive Certificate – The review process is determined by the type of preservation incentives applied for:
  • Fee Waivers and Alternative Bulk Zoning Regulations – Applications requesting a fee waiver and/or the use of alternative zoning regulations are reviewed and approved by the Historic Preservation Commission only. The Historic Preservation Commission will have final authority on any projects entailing alternative zoning regulations or the waiving of fees. If a property is already included on the Historically Significant Structures Property List, the review process for projects requesting approval of alternative bulk zoning regulations or fee waivers is estimated to take approximately 2 months to complete between submittal and final consideration by the Historic Preservation Commission. A building permit would then be obtained following approval by the Historic Preservation Commission. 
  • Historic Preservation Fund Grants and Property Tax Rebates – Applications requesting financial assistance through grant funding or a property tax rebate will require a recommendation by the Historic Preservation Commission and final approval by the Village Board. This process is anticipated to take 3-4 months. A building permit would then be obtained following approval by the Village Board.
3.  Project Review Criteria – Projects will be reviewed according to the Secretary of the Interior's Standards for the Treatment of Historic Properties and Standards for Rehabilitation, which are available for review on the National Park Service’s website. These 10 broad standards are the basic elements for a good preservation project and help to ensure that a historic building's integrity, significant elements and character is retained and appropriately repaired. The Secretary of the Interior's Standards for the Treatment of Historic Properties is also an important guidebook to evaluate rehabilitation, preservation, restoration, and reconstruction projects.

4.  Final Approval Items / Preservation Agreement – The property owner is required to sign a Preservation Incentive Agreement outlining the use and distribution of funds prior to the commencement of any work. All work must be completed in accordance with the conditions of the Preservation Incentive Certificate and Preservation Incentive Agreement. Construction work must completed within one (1) year after the date of approval, unless additional time is approved under the Preservation Incentive Agreement. Applicants are responsible for maintaining approved exterior improvements for a period of five (5) years following the completion of work unless otherwise approved by the Historic Preservation or Village Board prior to initiating such work. The Village reserves the right to terminate any agreements for failure to comply with program requirements and the applicant may be liable for reimbursing all incentive funds provided back to the Village.