Frequently Asked Questions

Tintype, Boarding House, c. 1900, Market Street, Lee’s Summit, MO (Copyright: Lee’s Summit Historical Society)

Q: What is a historic property?
A: A historic property is a parcel of land that is designated (or has been determined to be eligible for designation) at the local, state, or federal level. Properties eligible for local historic overlay district designation must have significant historic character, interest, or value as part of the development, heritage, or cultural characteristics of the city, state, or nation; or is associated with the life of a person significant in the past; or convey high architectural or artistic values or archeological contributions.

Q: How do I know if my property is a historic resource?
A: You may contact the Department of Planning and Development and speak with the liaison to the Historic Preservation Commission to find out if your property qualifies as a historic property.

Q: What if my property qualifies as a historic resource?
A: If your house is listed in the city’s local historic register, all alterations, additions, repairs and demolition require a Certificate of Appropriateness (COA) or a Certificate of No Effect (CNE) and in many cases a building permit. The COA and CNE are reviewed by the Historic Preservation Commission and the Department of Planning staff respectively.

Q: How do I designate my property?
A: You may contact the liaison to the Historic Preservation Commission located in the Department of Planning and Development at 816-969-1600.

Q: What are the benefits of designating my property?
A: There are a number of incentives for owners of designated historic properties. If your property is listed in the National Register of Historic places, contact the State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO) at 1-573-751-7858. If your property is listed in the city’s local historic register, contact the Department of Planning and Development at 816-969-1600. Find out the difference between the National Register district listing and that of the local historic overlay district listing.

Q: Can I paint my house any color I want?
A: Yes. The Lee’s Summit Historic Preservation Commission does not regulate paint colors inside or on the outside of your house. The Commission does review how paint is removed from the exterior of your house and that unpainted masonry must not be painted.

Q: Is there a fee for a Certificate of Appropriateness and a Certificate of No Effect?
A: None.

Q: Can I put an addition on my historic property?
A: Yes. The Lee’s Summit Historic Preservation Commission requires that a Certificate of Appropriateness application be completed and the HPC review the proposed addition to determine if the addition meets the design guidelines for the local historic overlay district.

Q: Do I need permission to perform ordinary maintenance to my historic house?
A: Minor projects are those items that involve replacing existing material with the same materials or painting previously painted surfaces. A majority of these types of projects can be reviewed by the HPC liaison staff during the Pre-Application Conference and determined within 5 days if a Certificate of No Effect is required.

Q: Where can I receive help designing an addition to my house?
A: The Department of Planning and Development historic preservation staff is available by appointment to aid you in providing design review when planning for your proposed repairs and additions to your historic house. Also, a design guidelines manual has been created for the local historic overlay district in which your house is located.

Q: Is there historical information available regarding my historic property?
A: The Department of Planning and Development historic preservation staff maintains historic property inventory forms on all buildings in designated local historic overlay districts.

Q: If I have more questions, whom should I talk with?
A: Call the city staff liaison to the Historic Preservation Commission located in the Department of Planning and Development at 816-969-1600 for financial incentives programs.