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Design Review

The City of Lakeland is proud of its diverse architectural history. To preserve these cultural assets and protect the historic integrity and character of each historic structure, material changes to the exterior of historic buildings and properties are subject to the City’s design review process.


Design review and the issuance of a Certificate of Review is required prior to starting any project that will alter the exterior of a Local Historic Landmark or building within a Historic District, new construction within a Historic District, the relocation of a historic building, or demolition of a historic building or building within a Historic District. This process has been streamlined to accommodate minor and major projects. Applying for design review is done through the City’s iMS system.

Design Guidelines

Design guidelines provide guidance on compatible changes to and treatment of historic buildings and properties, as well as assist in the development of sensitive new construction. The Secretary of the Interior's Standards for Rehabilitation are used as the basis and reference for Lakeland's Design Guidelines.

Design guidelines provide the standards by which the Historic Preservation Board's Design Review Committee and staff evaluate proposed historic preservation projects. A Certificate of Review will be granted if the proposed project is consistent with the Design Guidelines and must be granted prior to the issuance of building and demolition permits.


Fast Facts About the Design Review Process

  • Design review is only required for structural modifications to the exterior of properties in historic districts, not interior changes.
  • There are no restrictions on paint colors for existing residential structures. 
  • Projects are classified as "minor" or "major" in scope.
    • Minor projects such as the installation of fences, sheds, swimming pools, and replacement of windows, doors, or roofing can be reviewed and approved by staff (authority is delegated by the Historic Preservation Board).
    • Major projects that involve the demolition of principal buildings, new construction of principal buildings, additions, and major rehabilitation projects require Design Review Committee approval.
  • Over the past two years, 99% of projects were approved – 70% were approved as submitted and 29% were approved with conditions. 
  • Most were handled administratively by staff (85%); the rest went to the Design Review Committee.  
  • Of the projects presented to the Design Review Committee, 89% were resolved in one meeting. The rest required two meetings. No cases needed more than two meetings.
  • Over the past year, the average time from submission to the issuance of a “certificate of review” was 1 day for minor projects and 24 days for major projects (because the committee meets monthly).
  • The design review process can help to expedite the building permit process by working through potential problems ahead of time.