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On January 17th, 2005 the Demolition Delay Ordinance was adopted by the Bloomington City Council. The Ordinance delays the issuing of a demoliton permit in order to allow for public notice and discussion of proposed demolitions to documented historic structures.


Demolition Delay Process


Demolition Delay Ordinance Frequently Asked Questions

What is Demolition Delay?

The Demolition Delay Ordinance delays the issuing of a demolition permit in order to allow for public notice and discussion of proposed demolitions to certain structures listed on either the Indiana Historic Sites and Structures Inventory (IHSSI), which is encompassed within the State Historic Architectural and Archeological Research Database (SHAARD), or on the City of Bloomington Survey of Historic Sites and Structures Inventory. This provides an opportunity for the Historic Preservation Commission (HPC) and the City Council to consider implementing formal historic preservation actions before these structures are demolished. There are three types of activities that constitute demolition: a complete removal of a structure; any actions that result in a partial demolition of any exterior portion of a building or structure; or substantial demolition.


What does the rating of my property mean?

The survey ranks a structure as "notable" or "outstanding" if it is an excellent, relatively unaltered example of a particular architectural style, and/or has a strong association with local history, settlement patterns, or important figures. Buildings that are rated notable or outstanding may be eligible for listing in the National Register of Historic Places. Properties may also be listed as "contributing" if they retain historic integrity for the style or era they were constructed but are generally are not eligible for the National Register of Historic Places and simply contribute to the larger district or neighborhood's fabric.


What does the survey record about my property?

Surveyors look at all properties at least 40 years old. In addition to age, a structure must show integrity of location, setting, design, materials, and workman-ship. The surveyors also take into account a property's association with important historical figures and events. They document structures that are architecturally outstanding as well as those that, while perhaps ordinary, are particularly representative of the city.

For each site included in the survey, the surveyor completes a form noting the approximate date of construction, architectural style, and significant features. The surveyor takes photographs to document the property and records its location on a U.S. Geological Survey map.


What constitutes as "partial demolition"?

"Partial Demolition" is defined in the Bloomington Unified Development Ordinance as the complete or substantial removal or destruction of any exterior portion of a structure, which shall include but not be limited to:

(1) Complete or substantial removal or destruction of a porch, wing, cupola, addition, or similar feature; or

(2) Partial demolition of a roof shall include work that results in any change to the pitch of any portion of the roof, or; covering or otherwise obscuring an existing roof with a new roof of different pitch or material; adding any gable, dormer or other similar feature to an existing roof; or

(3) Any work resulting in the obscuring from view of forty percent or more of the exterior of any façade on the structure; or, removal or destruction of the exterior surface of forty percent or more of the area of any exterior façade on the structure; or

(4) Construction or attachment of any addition to a structure; or

(5) Enlargement or removal of any door or window opening; or

(6) Creation of any new window or door opening.

Interior demolition is not covered by this Ordinance.


What constitutes as "substantial demolition" and how does it affect me?

Substantial demolition is defined as "the moving or razing a building including the removal or enclosure of fifty (50) percent or more of the structure" and only applies to properties rated as "Contributing" only on the 2015 survey listing.


Are there exemptions from the Demolition Delay Ordinance?

Yes, there are three major exemptions:

1. A structure is already designated as locally historic. In this case, any exterior work (including demolition) requires a Certificate of Appropriateness (COA) from the Bloomington Historic Preservation Commission (BHPC). You will need to complete the COA process with the HPC before the Planning & Transportation Department can issue any permits. If you have questions on the COA process, or to find out if your house is designated, please contact HAND.

2. A structure is located within a conservation district. Within a conservation district, a COA is required for any new construction, complete demolition, or moving a house. Please contact HAND to find out if your house is in a conservation district.

3. A structure is listed as being "Noncontributing" on the IHSSI or is not listed in the report. Noncontributing structures are not covered by the Demolition Delay Ordinance. Additionally, if a structure is not listed at all in the Interim Report, it is not subject to the Ordinance. In both cases, the Planning Department can issue demolition permits, without a delay period. If you have questions about your particular property, or the permitting process in general, please call the Planning Department or HAND before starting any work.


How long is the "delay" in Demolition Delay?

In the case where a permit is only for partial demolition of a "Contributing" building in a residential zoning district, Staff has seven business days to review the structure to determine if it should be forwarded to the BHPC in order for the BHPC to consider local historic designation. If Staff feels it does not require review by the full BHPC, the permit can be reviewed and released. If the Planning and Transportation Department, Staff have not acted on the permit application within seven business days of receipt, the permit is automatically released.

In all other instances, the permit will be reviewed by the full BHPC. Once an application is forwarded for review, it can be held for up to 90 days. For cases requiring greater attention, the HPC may request an additional 30 day delay period, for a total of 120 days. The HPC, which meets twice a month, is then tasked with determining whether or not Local Historic Designation is warranted for the property in question.


How do I know if my property is listed on the survey?

Please contact Conor Herterich, Historic Preservation Manager for the City of Bloomington, at (812) 349-3420 or, if you have any other questions about historically designated structures in the city.