What is the Tempe Historic Property Register?
[answers to property owner questions]
Q: What is the Tempe Historic Property Register?
A: The Tempe Historic Property Register is the official city list of historically, culturally and visually significant buildings, structures, landmarks, districts, and archaeological sites in Tempe that have undergone the process of historic designation provided for their protection by Tempe City Code.
The intent of historic designation is to provide protection for significant properties and archeological sites which represent important aspects of Tempe's heritage; to enhance the character of the community by taking such properties and sites into account during development, and to assist owners in the preservation and restoration of their properties.
Q: What qualifies a property for listing in the Tempe Historic Property Register?
A: The Tempe Historic Preservation Ordinance establishes the criteria for listing or designation of historic properties. Generally, properties must meet the criteria for listing in the Arizona or National Register of Historic Places. By ordinance, properties found to be of exceptional significance, expressive of distinctive character, reflective of Tempe's cultural, social, political or economic past; or associated with a person or event significant in community history may also be locally listed.
Properties that represent an established and familiar visual feature of an area of the city due to a prominent location or singular character may also be locally listed.
Q: How does listing protect and preserve a property?
A: Historic designation applies overlay zoning to a property or district. All uses permitted by the underlying zoning continue to be permitted, however, designated properties and districts are subject to the provisions of the Tempe Historic Preservation Ordinance, as well as to applicable provisions of the Zoning and Development Code and General Plan 2030.
Designated historic districts are governed by design guidelines developed to preserve and enhance the distinctive character of the district. Guidelines address general aspects such as building materials, massing, scale and proportion of openings and other features, orientation and relative position of buildings and landscape character; as well as specific aspects such as roof forms, textures, color theme, character of signage, window and door types, and other details relative to architectural styles evident in the district.
Q: If my property is listed will I be prohibited from making changes?
A: Register listing does not prevent the owner of an historic property from remodeling, repairing, altering, selling, or even demolishing a listed building. It also does not obligate an owner to make any repairs or improvements to the property. Tempe Preservation understands that historic properties often change over time to remain viable properties. The way in which changes are made to historic properties can make the difference between loss or maintenance of historic integrity. Professional design assistance and historic property design guidelines are available to assist owners in the preservation and restoration of their properties.
Guidelines are advisory not regulatory and address general aspects of properties in historic districts. The intent of the guidelines is to provide protection for significant features of those properties which represent important aspects of Tempe's heritage.
Q: What are the benefits of having a property listed?
A: The community benefits from maintaining tangible links to past events, people, and artistic expressions that have molded the character of Tempe and local listing reinforces these links by calling attention to historically significant properties. Listing properties has financial benefits for the community by contributing to the revitalization of neighborhoods and business districts and by promoting tourism.
It is the intent of the city to make historic property ownership as beneficial as possible. In addition to the intangible benefits of owning a property recognized as an important community resource, Tempe Preservation provides owners with assistance in locating potential sources of financial assistance and tax credits; assistance in preparing grant applications and potential third party sponsorship; technical information and referrals; and assistance in obtaining other benefits available through City, State, and Federal historic preservation programs.
Q: How do I nominate a property to the Tempe Historic Property Register?
A: Application for the designation of a landmark, historic property or historic district can be made by the property owner or by any officer, department, board, commission or the city council.
Nomination forms are available from the Tempe Historic Preservation Office or online at http://www.tempe.gov/historicpres/applicat.html. A new form, WAIVER OF RIGHTS AND REMEDIES UNDER A.R.S. §12-1134, is available for submittal on all historic property designation applications processed by the Tempe Historic Preservation Commission. This form is made available in response to recent voter adoption of Proposition 207, the “Private Property Rights Protection Act.” The zoning waiver is available online at http://www.tempe.gov/historicpres/docs/Prop207Waiver.pdf. There is no fee to process the application and staff and commission volunteers will assist with the nomination as well as other aspects of the designation and listing process.
Q: What is the difference between local and national designation?
A: Local designation and listing in the Tempe Historic Property Register is designed to complement listing in the National Register of Historic Places. Listing in the National Register honors a historic place by recognizing its importance to the community, the State, or the Nation. However, under Federal law, owners of private property listed in the National Register are free to maintain, manage, or dispose of their property as they choose provided that there is no Federal involvement.
Local historic property designation is one of the strongest forms of protection for historic properties. Local designation applies overlay zoning to the historic property and thereby makes benefits and protections provided by the Tempe Historic Preservation Ordinance available for property conservation.
Q: What assistance is available to assist me with my historic property?
A: Preservation assistance is available through City, State, and Federal historic preservation programs. The Tempe Historic Preservation Office (Tempe HPO) provides architectural design and planning assistance, grant sponsorship, and technical assistance to owners to make ownership of an historic property as beneficial as possible. Tempe HPO can help with listing properties and assisting owners with obtaining incentives for preservation by rehabilitation, restoration or maintenance to encourage the preservation of historic properties. Contact the Tempe HPO at 480-350-8870.
The Arizona State Historic Preservation Office (Arizona SHPO), a division of Arizona State Parks, assists private citizens, private institutions, local governments, tribes, and state and federal agencies in the identification, evaluation, protection, and enhancement of historic and archaeological properties that have significance for local communities, the State of Arizona, or the Nation. Contact the Arizona SHPO at 602- 542-4009.
The Federal Government supports historic preservation through a variety of funding sources and technical assistance programs. The National Park Service is a major source of support, but preservation assistance is also available, either directly or indirectly, from many other agencies. Consult Tempe HPO or the Arizona SHPO for assistance with Federal programs.
The National Trust for Historic Preservation helps people protect, enhance and enjoy the places that matter to them. The National Trust for Historic Preservation is a private, nonprofit membership organization dedicated to saving historic places and revitalizing America's communities. Contact the Western Office of the National Trust at 415-947-0692.
Q: How are properties worthy of preservation identified?
A: The City of Tempe has conducted two major surveys to identify properties eligible for listing in the Tempe Historic Property Register. The last comprehensive city-wide inventory was completed in 1997 and lists 343 candidate properties of all types which may be eligible for historic designation.
The most recent large scale survey and inventory of Tempe historic resources focused on Post World War II Tempe Subdivisions built between 1945 and 1960. The survey completed in 2001 examined approximately 4,500 Tempe properties built between 1945 and 1960. From this survey, inventory forms were completed for 62 subdivisions containing nearly 1,800 individual properties. Only properties that conveyed high levels of architectural integrity (i.e., that still possessed all elements of their original design) were inventoried in detail.
In addition to the above Tempe surveys, the Arizona State Historic Preservation Office has conducted surveys to identify National Register Properties and completed documentation of many of these properties for inventory. The SHPO provides inventory forms that are used to document pertinent information about the property. The SHPO reviews documentation provided and makes a determination of eligibility for the National and/or State Registers of Historic Places.
Q: Who maintains the list of designated or eligible historic properties?
A: The Tempe Historic Preservation Office maintains the Tempe Historic Property Register as the official city list of historically, culturally and visually significant buildings, structures, landmarks, districts, and archaeological sites in Tempe that have undergone the process of historic designation. In addition, Tempe HPO compiles information about historic properties and the historic character of Tempe for the purpose of identifying structures, properties, districts and archaeological sites worthy of preservation. Contact the Tempe HPO at 480.350.8870.
The State Historic Preservation Office maintains an inventory and documentation for properties listed on the Arizona and National Register of Historic Places. The office also maintains a listing of properties that have been determined Register-eligible. Contact the State Historic Preservation Office at 602.542.4009.