Historic Preservation Guidelines

The city’s intent is to encourage high quality development while protecting the heritage of Boise’s historic districts. Homeowners can accomplish this goal through alterations and new construction that are congruous (harmonious) with the character of the neighborhood. The character, or “sense of feel,” conveyed by these neighborhoods promotes an identity unique to the district. Changes bring a wide range of considerations, such as protecting the integrity of the district and the sense of time and place conveyed by the property. These guidelines will be one source in determining the congruity of proposed exterior changes in historic districts.

Design principles embodied in these guidelines should encourage creative solutions that will enhance the character of a neighborhood. The guidelines clarify requirements for property owners and design professionals and suggest techniques to preserve and enhance the historic district’s qualities with regard to today’s cultural standards.

When the guidelines are followed carefully, they will provide uniform review and increased predictability. When used in conjunction with city staff consultation, the guidelines can benchmark early stages of project conception and design and help prevent delays and minimize added costs to developers and builders.

The Purpose of these Guidelines is to:

  • Provide guidance to property owners, architects, designers, builders, developers, city staff, the Historic Preservation Commission, and city council on the appropriate treatment of properties within the districts and preserving the integrity of the community’s historic resources through congruous alterations and new construction.
  • Inform about design policies in specific neighborhoods.
  • Provide information about the basic principles of historic preservation and urban design to create an environment that is scaled to the pedestrian, maintains cohesive neighborhood identity, and respects the unique settings of Boise’s historic districts.
  • Provide a framework for decision-making for staff, the Historic Preservation Commission, and City Council.

Residential Guidelines

The Design Guidelines for Residential Historic Districts (DGRHD) are for use in any residential districts regardless of the individual use.

Residential Guidelines

Commercial Guidelines

The Design Guidelines for Commercial Historic Districts are for use in any commercial districts regardless of the individual use.

Commercial guidelines

Secretary of the Interior's Standards and Guidelines

Together with the Residential and Commercial Guidelines, these guidelines ensure that work on historic buildings is done in such a manner that preserves the historical integrity of the building.

Standards and Guidelines

Common Historic District Home Improvements

Solar Collection

Energy generation is encouraged when it does not detract from historic integrity. See more information in the Residential and Commercial Guidelines and on the Historic Preservation Resources.

Boise's Energy Outlook
Historic District Windows

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

Historic Windows
Other Items

See additional resources on other common Home Improvements and how to navigate them in an Historic District including tree removal, demolition, additions and more.


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