Architectural Review Board

Program Coordinator:
Caroline T. Swope, M.S.H.P., Ph.D.

Department Phone:
(256) 341-4968

Background and Purpose

The City of Decatur has two locally zoned historic overlay districts, Old Decatur and Albany. Living in these historic districts offers protections and benefits for property owners. Areas of unique charm and historic importance, these neighborhoods are protected by city ordinance. Properties within these two districts are subject to design review to ensure that proposed changes are appropriate to the district and the individual properties. Anyone interested in doing work to the exterior of properties in these two districts must have an approved Certificate of Appropriateness before work can start.

Municipal ordinance tasks the Architectural Review Board with reviewing permits for construction and demolition in the district (fences, exterior repairs, additions, new construction, etc.) and works closely with the Building Department. The Architectural Review Board is a five member board, with members who have professional or personal experience with architecture, building trades, or history. They meet monthly and are an invaluable resource in guiding property owners to appropriate solutions for their needs. The Architectural Review Board uses the adopted municipal Design Review Guidelines and the Secretary of the Interior’s Standards for Rehabilitation for reviewing projects.

Exterior work within the two locally zoned overlay districts requires an approved Certificate of Appropriateness (CoA) before work can start. The Architectural Review Board is responsible for evaluating the CoAs, and meet monthly. CoAs that address routine maintenance (roofing, rot repair, rear fences, etc.) can often be reviewed by staff on a fast track basis. The application is the same regardless of which review pathway is utilized.

2023 Meeting Dates and COA Submission Deadlines

The deadline to submit a complete Certificate of Appropriateness (COA) and supporting documentation is fourteen (14) days in advance of the scheduled monthly meeting date. Please turn in all CoAs into the Community Development Department on the 5th floor of City Hall, or submit them digitally to .

The Decatur Architectural Review Board meets at the Decatur City Hall, in council chambers, which is located at 402 Lee Street NE. CoA hearings begin at 4:00 P.M. The property owner or a representative of the property must be in attendance at the meeting.


Meeting DateDeadline to Submit COA Application
January 12, 2023December 29, 2022
February 9, 2023January 19, 2023
March 9, 2023February 23, 2023
April 13, 2023March 30, 2023
May 11, 2023April 27, 2023
June 8, 2023May 25, 2023
July 13, 2023 June 22, 2023
August 10, 2023July 20, 2023
September 14, 2023August 24, 2023
October 5, 2023*September 28, 2023*
*Dates moved to accommodate a staffing conflict.
November 9, 2023October 19, 2023
December 14, 2023November 22, 2023 *
Moved from the 23rd to the 22nd to accommodate City office closure for Thanksgiving.

For more information, please contact (256) 341-4968 or .