Questions and Help
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Questions and Help
  1. Where is the IHPC office located and what are your hours?
  2. What are the phone numbers and e-mail addresses for the IHPC staff?
  3. Where do I get an application for a Certificate of Appropriateness?
  4. What kind of fees will I need to pay and to whom should I make a check payable?
  5. What kind of information or documentation should I include with my application?
  6. What is a site plan?
  7. What is a streetscape drawing and why is it necessary?
  8. What is a plan of operation and when do I need to provide one?
  9. Can I fax my application for a Certificate of Appropriateness?
  10. Where can I put a satellite dish on my house and what kind of approval do I need?
  11. How can my neighborhood become a locally protected district?
  12. I'm considering buying an empty lot in an IHPC district and building a house (or commercial building).  How do I go through the application process?
  13. I want to know if I need IHPC approval to do (fill in the blank).  How can I find out?
  14. Do you have any historic photos of my house?
  15. I'm researching a historic property.  What kinds of resources does the IHPC have?
  16. I don't see the Meridian Street Preservation Commission mentioned on the IHPC web site.  Does the IHPC oversee this area too?
  17. Can you give me a recommendation for a good contractor?
  18. How long does the approval process take?


Where is the IHPC office located and what are your hours?
The IHPC office is located in the City-County Building, 200 E. Washington Street, in Room 1801 on the 18th floor.  Our hours are 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Monday through Friday.  Staff typically takes lunch between 12 and 1 p.m. If you have an appointment at the IHPC office, please allow extra time to park and get through building security.  The cashier closes at 4 p.m., so please arrive prior to that time if you need to pay a filing fee.

What are the phone numbers and e-mail addresses for the IHPC staff?
The general office number for the IHPC is (317) 327-4406 and our fax number is (317) 327-4407.  For a list of staff members' phone numbers, e-mail addresses, and biographies, please click here.

Where do I get an application for a Certificate of Appropriateness?
They are available here or at the IHPC office.

What kind of fees will I need to pay and to whom should I make a check payable?
The IHPC fee schedule is available here.  Depending on the work you are applying to do, different parts of your application may be subject to different fees.  Checks should be made payable to the "City of Indianapolis."

What kind of information or documentation should I include with my application?
The required documentation varies depending on the scope of your project.  Photographs are always helpful and assist the IHPC by providing current photographs of the property for our building files.  The list below breaks down the documentation you should submit for various types of common applications.  Please be advised that staff may ask for additional documentation than what is listed below.

Paint
Include the manufacturer, name, and product number of the paint colors you want to use.  Submitting color chips is very helpful—the IHPC office does not have paint chips for every paint manufacturer.  Be sure to note on your application where each of the colors will be used.

Re-roof
Include the manufacturer, brand, and color of the new roof material. 

Fence
Include a site plan showing where the new fence will be located and information about the appearance, material, and height of the new fence. 

Window repair or replacement
Unless you submit clear photographs of the window's condition, staff will typically request to schedule a site visit to inspect the window or windows in question.  Be sure to include any information about the replacement windows, such as a manufacturer's brochure or cut sheet.

Porch repair or reconstruction
Applications for changes to porches must include an illustration of the entire porch, drawn to scale.  A scaled drawing is crucial to understanding how many spindles will be used, the height of railings, the width of columns, etc.  Make sure to include any photographs of the porch's current condition and a photograph showing the side of the house where the porch will be located. 

New deck
Applications for decks should include information about the dimensions of the deck.  If a deck will have a railing, then an illustration of the deck, drawn to scale, must be included.  A site plan should be included showing the footprint of the existing building, the location of the deck, and the dimensions of the lot.

New construction of a garage
Drawings of all four elevations of the proposed garage must be included with your application.  If two of the sides are identical, then one elevation drawing will suffice for those sides.  These drawings must be drawn to scale and include information about roof pitch, siding. and trim materials.  Drawings must not be submitted on sheets larger than 11" by 17".  Floor plans should also be included, especially if the garage will have a second story.  A site plan must also be included that shows the footprint of the proposed garage and the rear and side setbacks. 

New construction of a primary structure
Drawings of all four elevations, floor plans for all floors, site plan, and streetscape drawing must be included in order for an application for new construction to be placed on the next IHPC docket.  All plans should be drawn to scale and submitted on sheets no larger than 11" by 17".  Drawings should include notes about materials and include height and width measurements.  A streetscape drawing shows the proposed new construction in the context of the surrounding buildings and indicates the finished floor height.

What is a site plan?
A site plan shows the footprint of any existing and proposed structures on a lot.  Site plans should be drawn to scale and include dimensions of the lot, structures, and any setbacks.  Please click here to access a helpful handout produced by the Current Planning section.

What is a streetscape drawing and why is it necessary?
A streetscape drawing is necessary for applications for new construction of a house or commercial building.  It illustrates how the proposed design will fit into the context of surrounding buildings.  Streetscape drawings should show the outline of the neighboring buildings and should be drawn to scale to determine how the new building's height and massing compares to surrounding buildings.  The distance between the proposed new construction and the adjacent properties, as well as the finished floor height, must be indicated on the streetscape drawing.  Still not sure what a streetscape drawing is?  Here are some examples in PDF format: Streetscape #1Streetscape #2Streetscape #3.

What is a plan of operation and when do I need to provide one?
A plan of operation explains how a business is going to function.  These are particularly useful when applying for a variance of use or rezoning a property.  If you are considering changing the use of a building, preparing a plan of operation helps the IHPC review your project and determine whether any additional variances may be necessary.  As with any case which must be heard at the monthly commission hearing, make an appointment with one of the architectural reviewers to discuss the project prior to filing your application.  Please click here to access a helpful handout produced by the Current Planning section.

Can I fax my application for a Certificate of Appropriateness?
The IHPC does accept applications via fax at 327-4407.  However, while this may seem to be the fastest way to file your application, there are drawbacks to this method.  If a filing fee is required for your application, we cannot process your application until this fee is received.  For projects that take some explanation, it may be easier to turn in the application in person so that the IHPC staff member can review the application and have questions answered.  Also be aware that documentation may not fax well, which will also delay the review of your request.  Click here for an example of faxed documentation to illustrate how it may be difficult for a reviewer to understand your application.

Where can I put a satellite dish on my house and what kind of approval do I need?
Until an installation company visits your property, you may not know where the satellite dish will be placed in order to have clear reception.  Once the location is determined, you may need IHPC approval as outlined below: 

  • Any dish located on a structure and not visible from the street does not require a Certificate of Appropriateness.
  • Any dish located on the rear 2/3rds of the structure, where it is visible from the street, will require a staff approval.
  • Any dish located on the front 1/3rd of the structure, where it is visible, will be presented to the Commission for a Certificate of Authorization. This option is only available if there is no other alternative location and would be considered as a hardship situation.

    How can my neighborhood become a locally protected district?
    The first step is to contact the Preservation Planner, Christopher Myers, to determine whether local designation is appropriate for your neighborhood.  Christopher may be reached at 327-4432 or chris.myers@indy.gov .  It may also be helpful to read "How is a District Designated?" to learn about the designation process.

I'm considering buying an empty lot in an IHPC district and building a house (or commercial building).  How do I go through the application process?
If you have general questions, you're strongly recommended to call one of the architectural reviewers.  Before you finalize the design and apply for a COA, make an appointment with a reviewer.  During your appointment, the reviewer can do a preliminary review of the design, check for any variances, and begin becoming familiar with your project.  The reviewer can then let you know if any additional documentation is required (i.e. material sample, cut sheet, manufacturer brochure, etc.).  While this might seem like an extra step, it expedites IHPC review of the project and can help avoid unnecessary continuances due to lack of documentation.

I want to know if I need IHPC approval to do (fill in the blank). How can I find out?
We have information available on this web site to let you know what work is subject to review.  The preservation or conservation plan for your neighborhood outlines the work that the IHPC reviews in your neighborhood.  This information is located within the "Architectural & Design Standards" sections of each of the plans.  The IHPC's Policies & Procedures outline what level of approval (staff, Hearing Officer, or Commission) is necessary for various types of work.  If you're not able to find an answer to your question within these documents, feel free to call the IHPC office.

Do you have any historic photos of my house?
The best resource for photographs is the Indiana Historical Society, particularly the Bass Photo Collection.  On their web site, you can search their collections for photographs.  We suggest that you try searching several different ways, such as by full address, street name, occupant name, or building name.  The IHPC office has some photos from this collection in our office, but not all of the buildings in the pictures are identified.

I'm researching a historic property. What kinds of resources does the IHPC have? The IHPC office receives many calls from individuals interested in obtaining information on their historic property or other buildings they are researching.  Our office has an extensive amount of information on many properties located within locally designated historic districts.  This information includes history on each neighborhood and its significance, as well as an individual building file for each property that falls within the historic district boundaries.  We also have limited Sanborn Atlas information, a few City Directories dating from 1969, a small reference library and copies of historic photographs from the Bass Photo Collection.  We have more information on properties within our older districts than we do for our newer districts.  There are other local resources for researching historic properties, as outlined in this handbook.

I don't see the Meridian Street Preservation Commission mentioned on the IHPC web site.  Does the IHPC oversee this area too?
No. The Meridian Street Preservation Commission is separate from the IHPC.  For information about this commission, please visit http://www.meridianstreetfoundation.net/mspchome.html.

Can you give me a recommendation for a good contractor?
Since the IHPC is a government agency, we are not allowed to give specific recommendations about contractors, builders, carpenters, etc.  Indiana Landmarks (formerly Historic Landmarks Foundation of Indiana) maintains a list of construction professionals who have worked on historic buildings.  Indiana Landmarks can be contacted at (317) 639-4534.  It might also be useful to talk to your neighbors and find out whom they've hired in the past.

How long does the approval process take?
A staff approval takes 3 to 5 business days to complete, though sometimes the approval process can take more or less time than that.  If a public hearing is required, then a Certificate of Appropriateness cannot be issued until the work is approved at the hearing.  The Hearing Officer holds weekly hearings (schedule), while the IHPC holds monthly hearings (schedule).