Syracuse Landmark Preservation Board


The Syracuse Landmark Preservation Board (SLPB) meets every three weeks on Thursday in Common Council Chambers, 3rd floor of City Hall (233 E. Washington Street). The meetings are held at 8:30AM and are open to the public. 

To review the submittal schedule, agendas and meeting materials for upcoming and past meetings, go to:

SLPB Agendas and Meeting Materials


The Syracuse Landmark Preservation Board (SLPB) is a 7-member board that is appointed by the mayor. Board members serve 3-year, unpaid terms and have backgrounds in architecture, landscape architecture, real estate, historic preservation, and/or are owners or historic property themselves. Individuals who are are interested in serving on the SLPB are encouraged to contact the City Preservation Planner at at 315-448-8108 or

The purpose of the City's preservation ordinance is to recognize, celebrate and protect Syracuse's built heritage, including buildings, landscapes, sites and districts. The SLPB identifies and recommends to Common Council the designation of significant historic and cultural resources as Protected Sites and Preservation Districts.  

In order to ensure the protection of individually designated sites and districts, the preservation ordinance requires that any exterior alterations to designated sites or properties within preservation districts must be reviewed by the SLPB through the Certificate of Appropriateness process. The goal of the Certificate of Appropriateness review is to avoid or minimize any negative impact to the historic character of the property or district.  

Self Service

Apply for a Certificate of Appropriateness

Nominate a Property for Protected Site Status


Additional Information and Technical Assistance


Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What is the Syracuse Landmark Preservation Ordinance?

The Landmark Preservation Ordinance is a historic preservation law originally adopted in 1975 and revised under the new city zoning ordinance (Part 6) to recognize, celebrate, and ensure the protection of Syracuse’s built heritage, including buildings, landscapes, objects, and districts. To date, four Preservation Districts and fifty-five individual Protected Sites have been designated
under the ordinance. Many additional districts and individual sites are eligible for designation.

Who administers the Syracuse Landmark Preservation Ordinance?

The Landmark Preservation Ordinance is administered by the seven-member Syracuse Landmark Preservation Board. These volunteers are appointed by the mayor and have expertise in history, historic preservation, architecture, landscape architecture, and real estate. The Board is responsible for making recommendations to the City Planning Commission and Common Council on designating properties, and for reviewing changes to designated properties.

What is a Preservation District?

A preservation district is a geographically definable area, which possesses a significant concentration, linkage or continuity of sites, buildings, structures or objects united historically by past events or united visually by plan or development.  There are two residential preservation district in Syracuse that include the Berkeley Park Preservation District and the Sedgwick-Highland-James Preservation District. There are also two downtown preservation districts: Hanover Square Preservation District and Columbus Circle Preservation District,

What is a Protected Site?

A Protected Site is a building, structure, site, landscape, or object that possesses an association with persons or events of historic significance, is illustrative of the historic growth and development of the community, and/or possesses unique architectural or artistic qualities. There are currently 59 individual Protected Sites including residential, commercial and religious properties as well as historic landscapes/cemeteries.  A full list of the city's Protected Site can be found here(PDF, 158KB)

How do I know if my building is in a Preservation District or is a Protected Site?

To determine if your building is a in a Preservation District or is a Protected Site please review the historic properties list(PDF, 319KB) or contact preservation staff at or call 315-448-8108.

What is a Certificate of Appropriateness?

A Certificate of Appropriateness (or CofA) is a certificate issued by the City of Syracuse Landmark Preservation Board authorizing a material change of appearance (see below) of a building, structure, site, landscape, or object designated as a Protected Site or within a Preservation District.  The process for applying for a CofA is detailed here.  

What is a Material Change in Appearance?

A material change in appearance is any change that will effect either the architectural or site features of a designated protected site or any building, structure, site, object, built landscape feature within a preservation district, such as:

  • Demolition or relocation of buildings or building components, such as a garage, shed,
    dormer, or porch.
  • Removal, replacement, or alteration of windows, doors, siding, roofing, cornices, shutters,
    moldings, porches, etc.
  • Changes in paint color.
  • Use of cleaning methods that can damage historic masonry or wood.
  • Additions or construction of new buildings and pools.
  • Permanent landscape changes such as addition or replacement of fences, lights, sidewalks,
    driveways, patios, and signs and alteration of site grading.

Note:  Most, but not all, work that requires a city building permit will also require a Certificate of Appropriateness. If you are not sure if your project requires a Certificate of Appropriateness, please contact the preservation staff at or 315-448-8108.

What activities DO NOT require a Certificate of Appropriateness?

Activities that do not require a Certificate of Appropriateness include routine maintenance and repair, including but not limited to:

  • minor repair to windows, such as caulking or reglazing, replacement of broken window glass (with the same size and style of glass)
  • minor repairs to doors, siding, trim, gutters, steps, fences, and walls as along as the repairs match the existing in materials, scale, style, design, and materials.
  • selective masonry repointing and replacement, when matching historic materials in strength, type, unit size, mortar joint thickness and tooling profile, bond pattern, texture, finish and color.
  • replacement of roofing material with matching material
  • replacement of existing mechanical equipment
  • repairs to or repaving of driveways, walkways and patios if using the same or similar materials
  • installation of new planting beds, pruning of trees and shrubs
  • installation or removal of non-fixed items (that can be removed without heavy equipment) such as bird baths, planters, rain barrels, dog houses, etc.

If you are not sure if your project requires review, please contact the preservation staff at or 315-448-8108.

What criteria and guidance does the Landmark Preservation Board use to determine whether to grant a Certificate of Appropriateness?

The Landmark Preservation Board reviews Certificate of Appropriateness applications to determine the effect of the proposed work on the historical, cultural, architectural, and/or educational significance and value of an individual Protected Site; or, in the case of a property located within a Preservation District, the effect of the proposed work on the historical, cultural, architectural, and/or educational significance of the property, the district or neighboring properties in the district. If the board determines that the proposed work will have an adverse effect on the property or district, it will deny the application. If it determines that the proposed work will have limited or no adverse effect, then it may approve the application or approve the application with conditions. 

In making its determination, the board is guided by the Secretary of the Interior’s Standards for the Treatment of Historic Properties. In addition, the Landmark Preservation Board may use adopted guidelines specific to individual Protected Sites or Preservation Districts in its decisions as long as these guidelines are consistent with the Secretary of the Interior’s Standards for the Treatment of Historic Properties.  






Design Standards and Guidelines

The Secretary of the Interior's Standards for the Treatment of Historic Properties -- specifically, the Standards for Rehabilitation-- guide the Landmark Preservation Board's decision making. 

The Standards for Rehabilitation are listed below. You can also find additional information about the Standards for Rehabilitation in the National Park Service's Illustrated Guidelines for the Treatment of Historic Properties.

  1. A property will be used as it was historically or be given a new use that requires minimal change to its distinctive materials, features, spaces and spatial relationships.
  2. The historic character of a property will be retained and preserved. The removal of distinctive materials or alteration of features, spaces and spatial relationships that characterize a property will be avoided.
  3. Each property will be recognized as a physical record of its time, place and use. Changes that create a false sense of historical development, such as adding conjectural features or elements from other historic properties, will not be undertaken. 
  4. Changes to a property that have acquired historic significance in their own right will be retained and preserved.
  5. Distinctive materials, features, finishes, and construction techniques or examples of craftsmanship that characterize a property will be preserved.
  6. Deteriorated historic features will be repaired rather than replaced. Where the severity of deterioration requires replacement of a distinctive feature, the new feature will match the old in design, color, texture and, where possible, materials. Replacement of missing features will be substantiated by documentary and physical evidence.
  7. Chemical or physical treatments, if appropriate, will be undertaken using the gentlest means possible. Treatments that cause damage to historic materials will not be used.
  8. Archeological resources will be protected and preserved in place. If such resources must be disturbed, mitigation measures will be undertaken.
  9. New additions, exterior alterations, or related new construction will not destroy historic materials, features, and spatial relationships that characterize the property. The new work will be differentiated from the old and will be compatible with the historic materials, features, size, scale and proportion, and massing to protect the integrity of the property and its environment
  10. New additions and adjacent or related new construction will be undertaken in such a manner that, if removed in the future, the essential form and integrity of the historic property and its environment would be unimpaired.

In addition to the Secretary of the Interior's Standards, the SLPB adopted design guidelines specific to the Sedgwick-Highland-James Preservation District(PDF, 2MB) and the Berkeley Park Preservation District(PDF, 4MB).  The guidelines are intended to assist property owners planning improvements to their historic properties and to guide the Landmark Preservation Board when reviewing Certificate of Appropriateness applications.