A Community Member Guide
Has a notice of a Demolition Application or Certificate of Non-Historic (CNH) Status sign been posted on a building on your block? Wondering what you can do? Historic Denver recommends following this protocol to achieve a positive preservation outcome.
1) Contact the City of Denver, Landmark Preservation Commission division to get more information
You can request a copy of the demolition or CNH application, which will include contact information for the property owner/applicant. You can request a copy of the staff report that describes details about the building’s potential historic status. You can reach the Landmark staff at email@example.com or 720-865-2709.
2) Complete Historic Denver’s Threatened Property Form
Share your concern for the property with Historic Denver by completing this electronic form
. You can also call the Historic Denver office at (303) 534-5288.
Historic Denver independently reviews all Demolition and CNH postings and determines the organization’s response based on the significance of the property, community concerns and the organization’s capacity and focus.
3) Consider the Building’s Merit
Read the staff report and check whether the property is mentioned in any existing publications about Denver history or architecture. Consider how the loss of the building will impact a block, a neighborhood and the city at large. Questions to think about include, does this building still recognizable as historic? Is this building rare in Denver or at least my neighborhood? Will others outside my neighborhood recognize it as significant? Is this building already listed on the State or National Register of Historic Places? Does it clearly meet multiple criteria for designation in at least two of the three required categories for local historic designation (history, architecture and geography)?
You can read more about what makes a building eligible for designation here
4) Contact the Building Owner
The owner’s contact information, or a representative of the owner, is listed on the Demolition or CNH Application. As soon as possible call the owner to inquire about their plans for the building and their perspective on its potential historic status. If you have to leave a voicemail, be sure to clearly leave your contact information and follow-up with an e-mail. Offer to meet with the owner to talk further about preservation possibilities, and make sure they are aware of the benefits of historic preservation. You can visit Historic Denver’s Resource page for information on designation, financial incentives and economic impact of historic preservation.
In the past, simply having this conversation has often led to a positive outcome, as the owner may have no specific plans for demolition (in the case of a CNH application) but is merely exploring their options, or has perhaps misunderstood the purpose of the CNH. Opening the lines of communication is essential to achieve a productive outcome.
5) Contact Your Neighborhood Association
Most Denver neighborhoods have a Registered Neighborhood Organization (RNO). RNOs receive notice of Demolition Applications and Certificate of Non-Historic Status Applications for properties deemed potentially eligible local landmarks. Contacting your RNO will help you determine whether the RNO is aware of the potential demolition or development project, whether they have already taken a position on the matter, and if there is wide interest in the property. You can find your assigned RNO here.
6) Talk to Your Neighbors
It is important to determine whether there is wide interest in a property. Talk to your friends and neighbors and gauge whether there are others who share your concerns and are willing to work with you to continue the conversation with the building owner and other partners.
7) Contact Your City Council Representative
You can also contact your City Council Representative to express your interest and to learn whether they are aware of the building, its potential significance and any plans for the site.
8) Consider the Options
Preservation is most successful when it’s collaborative. This often requires compromise. Once you understand the owner’s interests and needs, as well as the community’s hopes, try to identify “win-win” outcomes. Is there a solution that serves the owner and the neighborhood’s interests? For example, if the owner needs to sell can the neighborhood help the owner find a preservation-minded buyer? If the owner hopes to develop the site, is it possible to save the structure and accommodate additions or new buildings on the site? Thinking through such options, and discussing them with the owner, can sometimes lead to a creative solution.
9) Determine Your Course of Action
After you’ve taken these steps you can make a decision about how to proceed. Options could include taking no further action, actively pursuing a compromise, submitting a historic designation application within the required time frame, or turning your attention to proactive preservation strategy with neighborhood-wide impact, such as pursuing a historic district or conservation district. When making your decision it’s important to consider the likeliness of a successful and productive outcome.
Historic Denver can help you weigh your options, and provide feedback about what role the organization can play. Depending on Historic Denver’s assessment of the situation we may be able to offer technical assistance or other support, and we can help evaluate whether there are other, proactive steps your neighborhood can take to protect your historic resources and character.