Here in Rochester, we are truly fortunate to live in an area steeped in so much history and surrounded by unique and historic architecture. Everyday you drive past residential and commercial buildings from the 18th and 19th century that add so much character and personality to Rochester and it’s surrounding suburbs. Many of these buildings reside in a historic district, or an area of specially deemed importance where preservation guidelines are being enforced.
Rochester has 8 of these areas, referred to as Preservation Districts. These areas are:
- East Ave
- Grove Place
- Mt. Hope/ Highland Park
- Corn Hill/ Third Ward
- Susan B. Anthony
- Beach Ave
- Brown’s Race
- South Ave/ Gregory St
In addition to these areas, there are also many individually landmarked buildings – buildings that have been deemed to have significant individual historic or architectural importance.
What does it mean if you live in one of these areas? Since historic preservation is being emphasized here, any changes to the exterior of the building is required to be reviewed and approved by the Preservation Board. The Preservation Board must issue a Certificate of Appropriateness approving a change before a permit can be issued for any Preservation District property or landmark. Some of the exterior modifications can include windows, shutters, doors, garage doors, porches, decks, storefronts, awning, signs, landscaping, roofing and siding. It is important to keep any changes historically appropriate to maintain the highest level of preservation.
But, did you know that owners of historic income-producing real property, owner occupied homes, and barns may qualify for an income tax credit for rehabilitating the property? You can find more information about there here. Also, the City of Rochester provides a Historic Property Tax Exemption for improvements to properties in the eight preservation districts or to city-designated individual landmarks. This credit applies to city and school taxes only and more information can be found here.
Maps and more detailed information about all of these districts and landmarks is available on the City of Rochester’s website.