Cultural & Civic Development:Mobile Historic Development Commission
200 Government Street
2nd Floor, left out of the elevator
Mobile, AL 36633
Who and what is the Mobile Historic Development Commission?
We save buildings and neighborhoods. The Mobile Historic Development Commission is a department of the City of Mobile, under the direction of an independent volunteer Commission. The Commission is composed of representatives of various civic and public entities. The staff is a group of four professionals and a secretary who do the work of the organization, and serve as staff for the City's Architectural Review Board. The Architectural Review Board oversees the work within Mobile's seven historic districts. It's eleven volunteer members are appointed by the Mobile City Council.
TimeSavers - Online services, forms and applications
- Historic Building Marker Application
- Proposed Work Application
- Sign Permit Application
- Demolition Application
- ARB Member Application
Frequently Asked Questions
- Is my building in a historic District?
If it is between Houston and Broad and between Springhill Avenue and Texas Street, there is a high likelihood that your building is in a historic district. Also, if you have property in the Henry Aaron Loop south of Dauphin or in the neighborhood just west of the Post Office it is probably in a historic District. To check, go to the map that is part of this site. Also check and see if the survey of your neighborhood has been placed on this website.
- What are the advantages to owning property in a historic district?
Property owners in the historic districts receive benefits not available to others in the City. Numerous studies have shown that historic designation increases property values, and review board oversight increases it even more. Property owners are able to take advantage of preservation experts who work and volunteer for the City. They also have the security of knowing that neighboring properties will not suffer unsympathetic changes. Historic districts have a unique sense of place desired by many people.
- Are there restrictions involved in owning property in a historic district?
Yes. Property owners in a district must have all work to the exterior of their property approved by the City's Review Boards before they begin work. This includes work to the exterior of all buildings on the property (whether old or new), and amenities, such as fences, drives, etc. Guidelines are available on-line for work to property in the historic districts, also for new construction, work to commercial buildings, and for signage in the district.
- How do I apply to do work to my property in the historic district?
An application should be submitted to the offices of the Mobile Historic Development Commission. If the work is minor repairs, the staff of the Commission can issue a Certificate of Appropriateness. For changes to a property, the application is taken to the City's review board. The request will be scheduled for the next meeting. The staff will be happy to assist with the application process and get your application on the schedule as quickly as possible.
- Who is the Mobile Historic Development Commission?
The Mobile Historic Development Commission is a department of the City of Mobile, under the direction of an independent volunteer Commission. The Commission is composed of representatives of various civic and public entities. The staff is a group of four professionals and a secretary who do the work of the organization, and serve as staff for the City's Architectural Review Board. The Architectural Review Board oversees the work within Mobile's seven locally designated historic districts. Its eleven volunteer members are appointed by the Mobile City Council.
- What does the Mobile Historic Development Commission do?
The staff of the MHDC oversees the preservation interests of the City. They advise the Mayor and Council on issues that affect the historic resources of the community. Additionally, the staff handles the paperwork and agendas for the City's two Review Boards. The Commission volunteers set preservation policy for the City. They also direct the staff in numerous preservation activities such as education, marking, grants, special projects, etc.
- Why does the City have a historic development commission?
During the 1960s and 1970s the City of Mobile lost many of its historic buildings. The City recognized that this loss had serious repercussions for our community. The MHDC was formed to protect and enhance our historic resources. Since its founding in 1962, the MHDC has placed 7 districts in Mobile on the National Register of Historic Places. Each of these is protected by City Ordinances. The Commission has also worked to list a number of buildings individually on the National Register. The staff applies for grants that help with a number of its projects including brochures of the historic districts, publishing guidelines for the review boards, and other activities. The mandate for the MHDC has gone beyond the recognizing of a few historic buildings. Today, the staff handles many requests for information, researches buildings, conducts seminars, offers tours, assists with tax credit projects and provides technical expertise. The part time volunteer staff that began the work of the MHDC has grown to a department that performs work ensuring the continuation and preservation of our common heritage.
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