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Historic and Conservation Districts

District Designation Procedures

Owners of property in fee simple, wishing to establish a historic and/or conservation district which includes their property, may petition the Commission to consider drawing and submitting a map or maps of said property to the City Council for its approval. As part of the application process, the Commission will appoint an Ad Hoc Historic/Conservation District Committee. The Committee will be comprised of members of the proposed district and the Commission and will organize public meetings and develop the design standards to guide the district.

If you are interested in applying as historic and/or conservation district for a single site or district, download the following application instructions and application form.


Historic Districts

Both individual properties and groups of properties in an area can become historic districts. Individual properties and districts identified in the commission’s 2014 Carmel and Clay Township Historic Architecture Survey are potential candidates for local designation. The intent of local historic designation is to protect historic and architecturally worthy buildings which impart a distinct aesthetic quality to the City and serve as visible reminders of its historic built environment.

After a property is designated a historic district, the Historic Preservation Commission reviews all exterior changes to buildings within the district, alongside new construction, demolition, and relocation of buildings. Each designated district will have design standards developed to inform property owners of the appropriate methods to complete work on the exterior of their building, including new construction design standards. The Commission will approve the proposed work based on the design standards. These standards are unique to each district to account for the architectural and cultural significance specific to that district.


Conservation Districts

Conservation districts offer a less restrictive alternative to full local historic districts. A conservation district is intended to slow radical change in a neighborhood by reviewing major events: demolition, relocation, and new construction. A conservation district is appropriate when the inventory of buildings to be protected is historic but not individually of high or unique architectural value. A conservation district may be an appropriate choice if property owners are concerned about development pressure, but do not want the constraints of a full historic district.

Unlike a historic district, conservation district owners participate in a referendum before the third anniversary of the district's adoption. Each owner will be asked whether they object to elevation to a full historic district. If a majority object in writing, then the district continues as a conservation district. If a majority does not object, then the district becomes a full historic district.


Designated Local Historic and Conservation Districts

Larsen-Dunwoody House Local Historic District
On May 9, 2018, the City designated the Larsen-Dunwoody House as Carmel’s first single-site local historic district under ordinance D-2417-18. The preservation plan for the historic district is accessible here.
   Larsen Dunwoody House

Morrison-Cartmel House Local Historic District
On February 19, 2019, the City designated the Morrison-Cartmel House as a single-site historic district under ordinance D-2453-19. The preservation plan for the historic district is accessible here.
  Morrison Cartmel House

Plum Creek Corn Crib Conservation District
On May 21, 2019, the City designated the Plum Creek Corn Crib as a single-site conservation district under ordinance D-2465-19. The conservation plan for the district is accessible here.
  Plum Creek Corn Crib


Certificate of Appropriateness

Upon designation as a historic or conservation district, the Commission will issue a Certificate of Appropriateness prior to demolition, new construction, or relocation of a building. In the case of a historic district, the Commission will regulate any exterior changes visible from a right of way. The Commission will determine if the proposed work falls within the design standards for the property’s respective district. The Certificate of Appropriateness application is only required in designated Historic and/or Conservation Districts.