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Historic Preservation

The Norman Depot at Jones & Comanche

May 4, 2020 Agenda Packet

Historic District Ordinance

With the adoption of the Historic District Ordinance in 1993, the City of Norman joined thousands of other cities across the United States working to preserve and protect their local history and culture.

The stated purposes of the Historic District Ordinance of the City of Norman are to:

  • Safeguard the heritage of the City by preserving and regulating historic landmarks and districts which reflect elements of its cultural, social, political, and architectural history
  • Preserve and enhance the environmental quality of the neighborhoods
  • Strengthen the City’s economic base by stimulation of conservation and reuse
  • Establish and preserve property values
  • Ensure the harmonious, orderly, and efficient growth and development of the municipality
  • Promote the use of historic landmarks and districts for the culture, prosperity, education, and welfare of the people of the City and visitors to the City

The Moore-Lindsey House at 508 North Peters

Historic District Commission

Historic District Ordinance Brochure

What is the Historic District Commission?

The nine-member Historic District Commission (HDC) was established in 1993, along with the adoption of the Historic District Ordinance as an overlay zoning district. Chautauqua District was designated as Norman’s first local historic district in October 1995. In 1996, the City Council adopted the Chautauqua Historic District Design Guidelines. Miller Historic District was designated in December 1997. Miller Historic District Design Guidelines were adopted in November 1998 and were based on the Chautauqua Guidelines.

What is a Certificates of Appropriateness.

A Certificate of Appropriateness is required whenever the work will require a building permit, whenever the work includes the construction or enlargement of a driveway or parking area, and whenever such work includes the erection, moving, demolition, reconstruction, restoration, or alteration of the exterior of the structure or site. The one exception is when such work satisfies all the requirements for "ordinary maintenance and repair".

The term "ordinary maintenance and repair" is defined as "any work affecting the exterior of a structure for which a building permit or any other City permit is not required and where the purpose of such work is stabilization and further, where such work will not alter the character of the exterior appearance of the resource. Items falling into this category typically include painting and re-roofing.

Norman currently has three areas zoned as Historic Districts.

The Chautauqua Historic District

The Chautauqua Historic District was established in 1995. It encompasses an area roughly bounded by Symmes Street on the north, Brooks Street on the south, Chautauqua Avenue on the east and Lahoma Avenue on the west.

The Chautauqua Historic District is made up of approximately 153 residential structures. Most of these homes were built in the period between 1915 and 1935, with the majority of the development occurring in the 1920’s. The architecture and environment of the Chautauqua District represents a unique time period in Norman’s history. Stately residences reflect the character of the university deans, faculty, and other prominent individuals who assisted in the development of the City. The mature trees, which line the streets, reveal Norman’s dedication to turn a town on the prairie into a garden setting. In this six-block area almost every architectural style prevalent during the first quarter of the 20th century is represented. It is this variety, which also characterizes the heritage of Norman and western settlement, that is significant in the district.

Colonial Revival style structure in the Chautauqua District

Chautauqua Map

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Historic District Guidelines

The Miller Historic District

The Miller Historic District was established in 1997. Its area is roughly bounded by Symmes Street on the north, Classen Avenue on the east and Miller Avenue running northwest to southeast.

Comprised of approximately 148 structures, the Miller Historic District is predominately a residential area as well. Part of the Classen-Miller Addition which was originally platted in 1903, the area did not become fully developed until a growth spurt doubled the size of Norman following World War I. Convenient to the business district, the railroad, and the University, the area developed into a neighborhood for faculty members and business leaders. Thus the historical significance of the Miller District is two-fold: the district is significant for the role it played in the urban development of the City of Norman, and it is architecturally significant for its excellent collection of eclectic residential architecture built between 1910 and 1938. The Bungalow, a nationally popular subtype of the Craftsman style, represents the predominate architecture of the District. The majority of these homes were built in the 1920’s.

Miller District Bungalow

Miller Map

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Historic District Guidelines

The Southridge Historic District

The Southridge Historic District was established on October 11, 2016, and expanded on June 26, 2018.  It encompasses an area roughly bounded by Macy Street on the north, Shawnee Street on the south, Classen Boulevard on the west and Oklahoma Avenue on the east. The Southridge Historic District is comprised of 120 properties and Earl Sneed Park. The Southridge neighborhood was platted in 1922 with the majority of development occurring between the 1920s and 1950. The dominant architectural styles in Southridge Neighborhood are Tudor Revival and Colonial Revival, which were popular in the 1920s and 1930s across Oklahoma. Convenient to the University of Oklahoma and downtown business district, the Southridge neighborhood attracted many notable citizens of Norman and the University of Oklahoma. Today Southridge continues to be a vibrant residential neighborhood with charming historic character.

Southridge Edition

Southridge Addition

Southridge Map

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Historic District Guidelines

How to Apply for a Certificate of Appropriateness

  1. The Historic District Commission meets the first Monday of every month. The filing deadline is 24 days prior to the meeting date. Application forms are available through the Planning & Community Development Department, 201-A W. Gray Street, (405) 366-5322.
  2. An application must generally include photographs of the property, a copy of the deed, a plot plan, building plans & specifications, and the names and addresses of property owners within the proximity. A $75.00 filing fee is imposed.
  3. The reviews take place during the regularly scheduled meetings. All meetings are open to the public. The Commission will vote as to whether each application is to be approved or rejected. The Commission may recommend changes and suggest alternative materials and details. In some cases the Commission will request that the plans be amended in some way.
  4. If approved, the Certificate of Appropriateness will be forwarded for inclusion in the building permit application. A ten-day waiting period is imposed before work can begin.
  5. If rejected, the applicant may submit a revised proposal or appeal the Commission’s decision directly to the City Council.
  6. Certain projects, including such items as fencing, storm windows, and small storage buildings may be approved by City staff without going through the formal review process. For eligible projects of this type, the filing fee is waived.

Application  2020 Meeting Calendar


What types of work require a Certificate of Appropriateness?

In general, any outside work, which would result in a change to the exterior appearance of the structure or site, requires a Certificate of Appropriateness. Call Historic Preservation officer at 366-5392 for more information.

Are there any exceptions?

Yes. Projects deemed "ordinary maintenance and repair" do not require a Certificate of Appropriateness. This includes re-roofing with identical materials, painting non-masonry surfaces, replacing deteriorated exterior features with identical materials, and landscape maintenance.

Are paint colors controlled?

No. However property owners are encouraged to consider the style of the structure when selecting paint colors.

Do interior alterations require a Certificate of Appropriateness?

No. The interiors of individual structures are not governed by the Historic District Ordinance. However, ordinary building permit requirements must still be followed.

Do demolitions require a Certificate of Appropriateness?

Yes. Demolition can permanently alter the character of historic structures and may have a significant impact to the remaining structures and surrounding areas.

Where can I seek help?

Preservation Guidelines for the Historic Districts are available to download and City staff is available to assist you throughout the process. If you have any questions about Norman’s Historic Districts or would like additional information about the City’s Historic District Ordinance, please contact Anaïs Starr in the Planning and Community Development Department at 366-5392.