Certificate of Appropriateness

Home in one of Boise's historic districts.

Do you need a Residential Certificate of Appropriateness?

If you live in a historic district and are considering making changes to your home beyond basic repair, you likely need a Certificate of Appropriateness.

Projects Requiring a Certificate of Appropriateness

These common projects require a Certificate of Appropriateness if the home is located within a historic district.

  • Installing a fence other than wood
  • Replacing siding
  • Replacing windows, modifying their size, material, or style
  • Constructing an accessory structure that is 120 square feet or larger
  • Constructing an addition, porch or deck
  • Installation of solar collectors
  • Creating an Accessory Dwelling Unit (ADU) with or without exterior alterations
  • Making an exterior alteration beyond basic repair such as painting or replacing asphalt shingle roofing
  • Removing a tree
  • Demolition of a primary or accessory building

apply here

Have Questions?

If you have questions about whether you need a Certificate of Appropriateness, contact Historic Preservation staff before conducting work or applying for a building permit.

contact HP Staff

Historic Guidelines Videos

Learn more about the city's requirements for specific projects, including tree removal, roofing, siding and windows.

watch Videos


What is Considered “Historically Appropriate” in the Historic Districts?

Historic Preservation planning staff and the Historic Preservation Commission (HPC) utilize the Design Guidelines for Residential Historic Districts to determine the appropriateness of work performed in Boise’s historic districts. The Residential Guidelines include descriptions of the historic districts and guidance for creating historically appropriate designs for new construction, additions, accessory buildings and exterior changes such as changes to siding and windows.

Please note: Homeowners should utilize the guidelines to design projects and make changes that are historically appropriate.

Residential design Guidelines (PDF)

Approval Process

Depending on your scope of work, the Certificate of Appropriateness (C of A) will be reviewed at staff level or go to the Historic Preservation Commission. To determine whether your application will be reviewed by staff or go to a public hearing, the status of your home is considered. Homes can either have a Contributing status or Non-contributing status.

Contributing or Non-Contributing Status

Contributing homes are those properties that have not been significantly altered since they were built. Non-contributing homes may have been significantly altered or have been built after the historic time period.

Boise's Historic Surveys
To see if your home is contributing or non-contributing, search Boise's Historic Surveys. (You can also contact HP Staff). Enter the address and click on the blue address result to read the survey and determine if the home is Contributing or Non-contributing. Please note: “Not eligible” is considered non-contributing.

Search Historic Surveys

Decision Matrix
Once you know if your property is contributing or non-contributing, the Decision Matrix determines whether or not the project undergoes a public hearing or a staff-level review. Review your scope of work and your historic district to determine the level of your application.

Review Decision Matrix

Staff Level Applications

Staff level applications are reviewed by staff and do not require a public hearing

  • Staff have 15 days to review the application.
  • Neighbors are noticed in the mail of the application and the decision.
  • There is a 10-day appeal period following the decision before a building permit can be pulled.

Committee Level Applications

Committee level applications require a public hearing before the Historic Preservation Commission.

Learn about the HP Commission

  • The application must be received by the cutoff date for the next public hearing.
  • There is a 10-day appeal period following the decision before a building permit can be pulled.

prepare for public hearing

Solar Collectors

The installation of solar panels in the historic districts requires a Certificate of Appropriateness. Energy generation is encouraged when it does not detract from historic integrity.

Learn More
Vinyl Windows

Vinyl windows are not permitted within Boise’s Historic Districts. When replacing existing vinyl windows on a property, an approved material must be installed.

Learn More
Decision Matrix

Before making any changes, please review the Decision Matrix or contact Historic Preservation staff at (208) 608-7100.

Learn More
Residential Design Guidelines

The Design Guidelines for Residential Historic Districts help the city and homeowners determine the historic appropriateness of changes within residential historic districts.

Learn More

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