Historic District Board of Review

The Madison Historic District Board of Review administers the Historic District ordinance, which aims to protect the oldest and most historic parts of the city of Madison. The district encompasses the entire downtown area from the "toe of the hill" on the north, the Ohio River on the south, and city limits on the east and west. You may view a map of the district in the Office of Historic Preservation at City Hall.

The Historic District Board of Review is now accepting public comment on the draft of the Madison Historic District Design Guidelines. Public comments can be made in person during a public meeting held by the Historic District Board of Review, to the Office of Historic Preservation, or using the following link:

A copy of the draft can be accessed using the following link: 

Preparing for a Historic District Board Meeting

Before you plan to make changes that are visible from a public street or alley, please contact the staff at City Hall. They will help make the experience helpful and easy. You will be given a copy of the design guidelines, or you may find them shown below. By closely following the guidelines, you can be better assured of a positive experience with the Historic District Board of Review.

Complete applications are due by 4:00 p.m. to staff in City Hall least fifteen (15) days prior to the meeting. At the time of filing, staff will inform the applicant of the necessary application fee due and when signs should be posted on the property. 

The board wants to be able to visualize the project by reading your application and its attachments and visiting the property. A complete application includes photographs, and often drawings, sketches, and/or product samples and information. Applications which are not complete will not be accepted. Thus, before you go to the board, please do the following:

  • Plan Ahead - The board only meets once a month. Applications are due the first Wednesday of the month, with the meeting occurring on the fourth Monday (except when holidays interfere).
  • Have a Plan - Please do not commit to a contract or purchase materials until you are approved. Know what you want to do before applying to the board, as you will be held to your application once approved. However, during the meeting, things can change. You might find that the board will not approve your replacement windows unless they are the exact size of the original windows. If you have already purchased the windows, you could find yourself in a bind.
  • Take Photos of Your Property as it Exists - Take both overall photos (front and back) and close up photos of areas that will be changed or that can demonstrate structural problems with the house.
  • Make Drawings of How the Structure Will Look - These drawings or sketches do not have to be technically perfect by any standard but should demonstrate your planned work.
  • Write a Detailed Description of the Materials You Will Be Using - Tip: Investigate staying true to the existing materials and sizes. Failing that, try to reproduce the look of the original materials as much as possible.


About Historic District Board of Review