Regulations for Historic Districts and Landmarked Properties

Brick steps lead up to a brick split-level historic home in Naperville.

What Governs Historic Preservation
in Naperville?

In 2011, the City of Naperville adopted a new historic preservation ordinance to coincide with the unified recommendation and to improve residents' ability to understand the code's implementation. The City of Naperville Municipal Code requirements for historic preservation can be found in title 6, chapter 11 of the Code. In addition to chapter 11 of the Naperville Municipal Code, additional state and federal requirements may apply to local landmark properties and historic district properties receiving state or federal grants.

The Historic Preservation Commission also utilizes the Historic Building Design and Resource Manual that was adopted in 2010 as an educational document and a reference in considering Certificate of Appropriateness or COAs. The manual encourages appropriate maintenance and renovations consistent with the historic architectural style, character and scale of existing historic structures and neighborhoods. Along with the manual, the Commission references the Architectural and Historical Survey that was conducted in 2008.

Find out if your property is located within the local Historic District by searching the “Your Place” map.

Designation of Landmarks

Any person or entity, including the Historic Preservation Commission, may submit an application requesting a landmark designation for an improvement within the corporate limits of the City. The landmark application process requires Historic Preservation Commission (HPC) recommendation and City Council approval. The designation of landmarks is regulated by section 6-11-3 of the Municipal Code. Once a property is designated as a local landmark, the Municipal Code requirements for historic preservation apply to alterations of the structure.

For more information, please download the landmark application packet and follow the steps outlined there.

Altering or Improving Historic Properties
(COA Requirements)

The City of Naperville has four locally designated landmark buildings and approximately 320 properties within a locally designated historic district that includes part of the North Central College campus and approximately 250 residential homes.

For those who wish to modify or make improvements to a property that has been designated a landmark or is located within a historic district, in most cases a Certificate of Appropriateness (COA) will be issued authorizing plans for exterior alteration, construction, demolition or material change of a property.

Please note that Naperville’s guidelines for making changes to historic properties may differ from state and federal guidelines. Property  owners who have received grants or incentives at the state or federal level should consult relevant guidelines before making any changes to the exterior of the structure.

Consult the COA requirements table that lists the summary of requirements for a COA and its associated review process. There are three categories in which COAs are given and reviewed:


In some instances, improvements to a historical property will be exempt from the COA requirements, meaning that a COA is not required and, therefore, improvements to the property do not need to go through an administrative review or a Historic Preservation Commission review.

Administrative Review

Certain property improvements may meet requirements allowing for an expedited staff review and approval through the City's fast track approval process. Access the Fast Track COA Application Packet and follow the steps outlined.

Historic Preservation Commission Review

More complex improvements that are not exempt or don't meet guidelines for the fast track approval process will be reviewed by the Historic Preservation Commission at a public meeting. Access the Historic Preservation Commission COA application packet and follow the steps outlined.

Any request for demolition in whole or any partial demolition impacting the primary façade which meets the criteria provided in Section 6-11-8:2 of the historic preservation chapter of the zoning title of the Naperville Municipal Code must submit a COA Application – Request for Demolition. It should be noted that total demolition of the existing structure in order to accommodate a new primary building in the historic district and on landmarked properties is highly discouraged in the Historic Building Design and Resource Manual. This application is applicable to any landmarked properties or properties within the historic district.

To determine which review process applies to a particular improvement project, consult the COA Requirements Table or contact the staff liaison (contact information below).

Please note: Regardless of whether a COA is required or exempt, a building permit may still be required; call (630) 420-6100, option 2, for more information.

Field Change Procedures

An improvement authorized through a COA shall be constructed in all respects in accordance with the approved COA. Any change to the approved COA requires additional review from either staff or the Historic Preservation Commission before the work begins through a field change process. Detailed instructions and an application form are available on the COA Field Change Procedures and Application Form.