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Historic Preservation

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Design Assistance Program

Instituted by City Council in 2011, the Design Assistance Program aims to help property owners minimize the impacts of additions, alterations, and new construction on neighbors and on the overall character of the historic Eastside and Westside Neighborhoods. Council recognized the usefulness of such a program as an educational solution for many of the problems with design compatibility in these areas.

The program enables owners to utilize the expertise of qualified consultants with documented experience in compatible historic design, for new construction and alterations as well as for project planning. Approved consultants have demonstrated competency in promoting design compatibility within the historic context.


Assistance Amounts

  • The city will provide a maximum of $2,000 for design assistance. Depending on the scope of the project, the entire fee may be more; any amount above $2,000 will be the responsibility of the property owner to fund. Upon approval of the design plans, the City will reimburse the contractor up to $2,000. The City reserves the right to reject plans that do not meet the intention of this program, which is to facilitate contextually compatible design, or which do not meet building codes or permit requirements. Compatibility is defined by the project's complying with the Secretary of the Interior's Standards and Guidelines for Rehabilitation.
  • Funds are allocated annually and are available on a first come, first served basis. There will not be any application periods; rather the program will be continually available depending on remaining funds.

Who May Apply

  • The applicant shall be the owner of the structure.
  • Design Assistance Program funding can be applied to different aspects of the same project, with more than one consultant, up to the $2,000 maximum per applicant per year for each qualifying property they own.
  • If the structure is sold, the new owner may apply for Design Assistance Program funding for the property in the same calendar year as the previous owner.

Type of Projects

  • Design Assistance Program funding is intended to provide property owners with technical design assistance for projects that will impact a building's exterior, particularly those elevations that are visible from public streets.
  • Properties must be generally located within the Eastside/Westside Neighborhoods, Sheely Drive Neighborhood, the Historic Old Town commercial district, be a designated Landmark, or be adjacent to a designated Landmark.
  • Design assistance will provide guidance on alterations and/or new construction on the exterior.

Application Process

  • Meet with city historic preservation staff for an initial discussion. Receive/download Application Form and the List of Design Consultants.
  • Contact, interview, and select consultant(s) from the list.
  • Submit completed Application Form, including property location, description of the project, property owner name and contact information, consultants(s) selected, and amount of anticipated charges. If funding is still available that year, Staff will review and set aside money for the project.
  • Submit a copy of the plans or report developed by the consultant (the "deliverables"), and provide a copy of the consultant's invoice for payment.
  • The plans or report must meet the program requirements, i.e., demonstrate contextually compatible design based on the Secretary of Interior's Standards and Guidelines for Rehabilitation, and meet applicable building codes or permit requirements.
  • The City will pay the Design Assistance Program funds to the contractor(s) directly for the agreed amount, up to a maximum of $2,000.
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Design Consultants

The City of Fort Collins keeps a list of approved consultants to provide to any design assistance applicants. Property owners shall interview, select and contract with the consultant. The City will pay the consultant directly, upon receipt of the plans or report and an itemized invoice. Any costs above the $2,000 maximum, or any costs incurred outside of the scope of the program, will be the sole responsibility of the property owner.

Consultants shall remain on the list for a period of three years, at which time they will need to reapply to remain on the list. If the Landmark Preservation Commission deems a consultants not to be maintaining their commitment to historic preservation standards and historic design compatibility, that consultant may be removed from the list.


To be included on the approved consultant list, consultants shall meet the following criteria.

  • Be in the design or construction profession, with a specialization in or strong understanding of historic preservation.
  • Can demonstrate having successfully worked on at least five historic properties; and can demonstrate context sensitive design, compatible with surrounding historic properties.
  • Applicants must specifically describe the work that they were responsible for on said properties/ projects.
  • Provide drawings and/or before photos, along with documentation of the work through after-photos.
  • Through overall body of work, must demonstrate an understanding of the Secretary of the Interior Standards for Historic Preservation. This could be in conjunction with the sample projects, demonstrating how the Standards were applied.

In addition to the previous criteria, the consultant will show how they meet one or more of the following criteria established by the Secretary of the Interior’s Professional Qualification Standards:


  • At least two years of graduate study in architectural preservation, American architectural history, preservation planning, or closely related field; or
  • At least two years of full-time professional experience on historic preservation projects and can demonstrate a leadership role in their area of expertise on sample projects.
  • Such academic study or experience shall include detailed investigations of historic structures, preparation of historic structures research reports, and preparation of plans and specifications for preservation projects.

Contractors/Engineers/Specialized Trades