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Historic Development

Who and what is the Mobile Historic Development Commission?

The Mobile Historic Development Commission (MHDC) is a non-profit governmental agency composed of volunteer representatives from various civic organizations. The MHDC advocates for the preservation of historically significant buildings, structures, sites, and objects in the city of Mobile; accepts façade easements; recommends to City Council specific places and districts for designation as historic properties or districts; reviews and comments on proposed National Register designations to the Alabama Historical Commission, and awards banners and shields to well-preserved properties in Mobile.

The Architectural Review Board (ARB) is composed of eleven volunteer members recommended by the Historic Mobile Preservation Society, Mobile Chapter of the American Institute of Architects, and the MHDC and appointed by City Council. They review applications for Certificates of Appropriateness (COA) for exterior work in Mobile’s seven locally designated historic districts.

Both the MHDC and the ARB are supported by the staff of the Historic Development Department, which includes four full-time preservation professionals and a secretary. The staff conducts initial reviews of COA applications, administratively issues COAs for routine work, prepares reports and recommendations to the ARB regarding more complex applications, conducts surveys and re-surveys of historic districts, prepares National Register nominations, develops and conducts educational programs on preservation topics, researches properties and prepares materials for the Banner & Shield program, enforces the preservation ordinance, and works with other departments in the City to ensure a holistic approach to the preservation of our shared heritage.