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Historic Preservation

 Contact Information

Dept Head: Karen McWilliams

Design Assistance Program

The Design Assistance Program, instituted by City Council in 2011, is meant to help property owners minimize the impacts of additions, alterations, and new construction on neighbors and on the overall historic character of Fort Collins. The Design Assistance Program is available to properties located within the Old Town Neighborhoods; properties in or adjacent to the Old Town commercial district; and properties designated as Landmarks. The program provides up to $2,000 for design  and technical assistance for projects that impact a building’s exterior. The program enables and encourages owners to utilize the expertise of qualified consultants with documented experience in compatible historic design for new construction, alterations, and project planning. Approved consultants have demonstrated competency in promoting design compatibility within the historic context.

The program operates on two-tracks. If your home is designated as a Fort Collins Landmark, part of a Fort Collins Landmark District, or individually eligible, you are Track One. If your home is not individually eligible, you are Track Two. To find out if you are individually eligible, please contact staff. Staff will be able to tell you if there is a current determination of eligibility on file and if not, how to get a determination completed. To complete a determination of eligibility, staff will need to receive a signed owner form and photographs of all sides of all buildings on the property. The process takes no more than two weeks. When you contact staff, make sure to note that you are pursuing your determination of eligibility for the Design Assistance Program.

Two-Track System

These documents provide in-depth guidance for each track of the program. If you are interested in the Design Assistance Program, the first step is know if your property is a designated historic resource or eligible for designation. Please contact staff at cHJlc2VydmF0aW9uQGZjZ292LmNvbQ== if you are interested in participating in the program.

Eligible and Designated Properties – Track One

If you know that your property is individually eligible as a Fort Collins Landmark or already designated, review the guidelines and application process for eligible or designated properties.

Non-Eligible Properties – Track Two

If you know that your property is not individually eligible or designated, review the guidelines and application process for non-eligible properties.

Approved Consultants

Historic Preservation staff will work with you to identify local consultants who can address the needs of your project. You will attend a project planning meeting with staff and your consultant before submitting your application to make sure the project is a good fit for the program and meets the Secretary of the Interior's Standards for the treatment of historic properties. 

Design Consultants

The City of Fort Collins keeps a list of approved consultants to provide to any design assistance applicants. Property owners shall meet with staff and the potential consultant to discuss the project. 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.


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

  • A minimum of two years experience on projects where the Secretary of the Interior’s Standards for the Treatment of Historic Buildings were applied.
  • Such projects may include detailed investigations of historic structures, historic window treatment studies, mortar analyses, structural engineering reports, preparation of historic structures research reports, and preparation of plans and specifications for preservation projects.