Introduction to Detroit Historic Districts

The Detroit Historic District Commission was formed by Detroit Ordinance 161-H in 1976. Its purpose is to ensure the preservation of historically and culturally significant areas of the City which are designated by the City Council as Historic Districts. Citizen members of the Commission are appointed by the Mayor and the Commission is staffed by the City of Detroit Planning and Development Department.

A building permit is required for any exterior changes to a building or site in a designated or proposed historic district. The Historic District Commission administers a building permit application review procedure and may approve or deny based on the appropriateness of the proposed work. Building permits are issued by the Buildings, Safety, Engineering, and Environmental Department upon approval by the Detroit Historic District Commission. In addition to permit application reviews, the Commission is also involved in other matters concerning historic properties, preservation programs, and designation of proposed districts.

For more information on the Historic District Commission, see the HDC FAQ, review the HDC's Guidelines and Procedures, or go to the HDC's own website.

Who is the Historic distric Commission?

The Commission is made up of seven Detroit residents who are appointed by the Mayor. These dedicated volunteers are generally residents of historic districts and represent such professions as architects and realtors. They generally meet the second Wednesday of the month beginning at 5:30 PM, to review applications for building permits in historic districts. A call to the Commission office can confirm meeting times and application deadlines.

The purpose of Historic Preservation in the city of Detroit is to:

Benefits of Locally Designating Historic Districts