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Page last updated on September 29, 2021 at 12:04 pm

On January 17th, 2005 the Demolition Delay Ordinance was adopted by the Bloomington City Council. The Ordinance delays the issuing of building or demolition permits in order to allow for public notice and discussion of proposed demolitions to historic structures. To qualify for a demolition delay review the structure must be on the Bloomington Historic Sites and Structures Survey but not locally designated as historic.



Demolition Delay Ordinance FAQs


What is Demolition Delay?

The Demolition Delay Ordinance delays the issuing of a demolition permit to allow for public notice and discussion of proposed demolitions to structures listed on the City of Bloomington Historic Sites and Structures List. This provides an opportunity for the Historic Preservation Commission (BHPC) and the City Council to consider implementing formal historic preservation actions before structures that are potentially architecturally or historically significant are demolished or irrevocably altered. There are three different forms of demolition as defined in the Bloomington Municipal Code:

Demolition: means the complete removal or destruction of any structure excluding its foundation.

Substantial demolition: means the moving or razing of a building including the removal or enclosure of fifty percent or more of the structure.

Partial demolition: means 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, or; 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) Replacement of any window or door where the window or door opening is enlarged or obscured from view; or

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

Substantial removal: as used in the definition of "partial demolition" means an alteration, pulling down, destruction or removal of a portion of a structure which jeopardizes a structure's individual eligibility for listing in the National Register of Historic Places, or its status as a contributing structure in a national, state or local register of historical places, which shall include, but not be limited to, the removal of a defining architectural feature or element which defines or contributes to the historic character of the structure.


What does the rating of my property mean?

The Indiana State Historic Preservation Office rates historic properties based on their integrity and significance. Integrity is a historic resource’s ability to express the intentions of its designers through the materials and features of its construction. Significance is either architectural or historical and resources can be of local, state, or national significance.  

Properties are listed as "notable" or "outstanding" if it is over fifty years old, 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 individual listing in the National Register of Historic Places.

Properties are listed as "contributing" if they are over fifty years old and retain enough historic integrity for the style or era they were constructed. Contributing structures are typically not individually eligible for the National Register of Historic Places and simply contribute to the larger district or neighborhood's historic character.

Properties are listed as “non-contributing” if they are less than fifty years old, or have been altered or neglected to the point that they have lost their integrity.


What does the survey record about my property?

Surveyors look at all properties at least 50 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.


Are there exemptions from the Demolition Delay Ordinance?

Yes, there are two major exemptions:

  1. A structure is already designated as locally historic. This means the structure is part of a local single or multi-property historic district, or a conservation district. In this case, any exterior work (including demolition) requires a Certificate of Appropriateness (COA) from the Bloomington Historic Preservation Commission
  2. A structure is listed as "Noncontributing" on the Bloomington Historic Sites and Structures List or is simply not on that list. In both cases, the Planning Department can issue demolition permits, without a delay period.


How long is the "delay" in Demolition Delay?

Typically 90 days but in rare circumstances that can be extended to 120 days. The timer starts once the City Planning and Transportation Department receives the building permit from the Monroe County Building Department. The BHPC, which meets twice a month, reviews the demolition delay and either releases the permit for approval or recommends historic designation and forwards the matter to the City Council.


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

Check the Bloomington Historic Sites and Structures Survey! It can be downloaded below as a PDF.

Please contact Gloria Colom Braña, Historic Preservation Manager for the City of Bloomington, at (812) 349-3507 or, if you have any other questions about historically designated structures in the city.