Welcome to the City of West Palm Beach’s Historic Preservation Program

We are proud of our sixteen locally designated historic districts, of which nine are also on the National Register of Historic Places. The City’s historic districts have a unique character that they wish to maintain for future generations. To ensure this, exterior modifications to historic structures must comply with our Historic Preservation Ordinance. The City also features 37 individually designated sites. The City of West Palm Beach initiated a survey of the historical and architectural resources of the community in 1988. Since then we have adopted an Historic Preservation Ordinance, participate in the Florida Certified Local Government Program and offer an Ad Valorem Tax Exemption Program. We hope you find the following pages helpful.

If you have any questions about the program or application process, please do not hesitate to contact the City’s Historic Preservation Planner, Friederike Mittner, at (561) 822-1457 or fmittner@wpb.org.

Building Size, Scale and Mass Regulations Adopted for the City’s Residential Historic Districts

Project Background
Since 2006, the City of West Palm Beach embarked on a public process, looking for tools to protect the character of its residential historic districts. Guidelines and dimensional standards to address building mass and scale were developed to provide tools to help ensure that neighborhood character is maintained. The Building Mass and Scale in the Historic Districts of West Palm Beach project identified the appropriate tools, such as a maximum Floor Area Ratio and Lot Coverage, to address mass and scale as part of a wider goal to protect the design character of residential areas in the city’s historic districts.

The new regulations meet preservation goals while also allowing for reinvestment and change. Public participation throughout the process helped to ensure that the regulations promote new development in a way that reflects the needs and values of the community. Contemporary preferences and market trends were balanced with preservation objectives to ensure a positive outcome.

The project has included active public participation in a series of community workshops and was endorsed by the City’s Historic Preservation Board, Planning Board and Downtown Action Committee. The Ordinance was adopted upon two readings by the City Commission, and is in effect as of May 27, 2010.

For more information, contact the Historic Preservation Division at (561) 822-1435.