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The City of Covington, KYKentucky

Historic Preservation

The City’s Historic Preservation goal is to protect Covington’s history as it is shown through the built environment and educate the community about Covington’s history.

This Historic Preservation function manages the following services and programs:

Historic Preservation Overlay Zones - A Historic Preservation Overlay (HPO) Zone is defined by the City of Covington’s Zoning Ordinance as an area intended to preserve structures, buildings, appurtenances, and places that are of basic and vital importance for the development of the culture, because of their association with history; because of their unique architectural style and scale, including color, proportions, form, and architectural details; or because of their being a part of or related to a square, park, or area of cultural, historical, or architectural importance to the city.

Not to be confused with National Register Historic Districts, of which Covington has sixteen along with numerous individual listings, the Historic Preservation Overlay Zones are adopted by ordinance by City Commission and include legal enforcement of compliance with the Historic Covington Design Guidelines that are specific to historic properties.

In order to support the historic preservation efforts of the city, this office is in charge of the following services:

Certificate of Appropriateness All exterior changes to properties located within the Historic Preservation Overlay Zones and some KRS Chapter 99 Development Areas will require a Certificate of Appropriateness (COA) to be issued before work begins. There is no charge for this permit if the permit is issued before work begins and the permit remains valid for 6 months. Building and/or zoning permits will not be approved for properties within the Historic Preservation Overlay Zones until a COA has been issued by the Preservation Specialist.

Urban Design Review Board - The Urban Design Review Board (UDRB) is responsible for making decisions on any Certificate of Appropriateness application that cannot be approved by staff. a Certificat of Appropriateness is a permit that must be submitted to secure approval for all exterior changes to properties located within the Historic Preservation Overlay Zones and some KRS Chapter 99 Development Areas will require a Certificate of Appropriateness (COA) to be issued before work begins. There is no charge for this permit if the permit is issued before work begins and the permit remains valid for 6 months. Building and/or zoning permits will not be approved for properties within the Historic Preservation Overlay Zones until a COA has been issued by the Historic Preservation Office.

Historic Plaque Program- The City, in conjunction with concerned citizens, developed the Historic Plaque Program and Historic Register to enable property owners within the city in possession of 50+ year-old structures that have retained historic architectural integrity to obtain plaques of recognition that are hung on the property. The program was fostered as a way to promote the City’s rich past, recognize the investments made to preserve Covington’s heritage and provide for a standard method, in the form of a wall mounted metal plaque, to display the significance of contributing structures. Any building in Covington that is 50 years or older and has sustained historic architectural integrity is eligible to apply for this program.  Learn more about the program.

National Register, Tax Credits and Resources - If a property is currently listed on the National Register of Historic places, as an individual listing or part of a district, or a property is eligible to be listed on the Register, the property owner may be eligible to receive tax credits on qualified rehabilitation expenses. There are tax credit programs through both the State of Kentucky (KY Historic Preservation Tax Credit Program) and through the Federal Government (Federal Historic Preservation Tax Credit Program).

Other Historic Preservation Resources