Buffalo Preservation Regulations
Special Notice: In November, 2011 the City published this document: Important Information for Property Owners of Historic Buildings & Sites in Buffalo. Copies are available at City Hall or by printing this large PDF.
The City of Buffalo is a Certified Local Government- meaning it has a preservation ordinance with the goal of protecting and preserving historic properties in City of Buffalo that meets the requirements of New York State and the Federal government. The City of Buffalo administers this ordinance through the Office of Strategic Planning and with the assistance of an eleven-member volunteer board called the Buffalo Preservation Board.
One of the main responsibilities of The Buffalo Preservation Board is to review the exterior construction, alteration, removal or demolition of properties that are designated as City of Buffalo Landmarks or located within one of the City’s nine Local Historic Districts.
Steps of Preservation Review
Prior to beginning such work, a Certificate must first be obtained by the Preservation Board. Below is a general guide for understanding the procedure for obtaining a certificate.
1) File building permit application at 301 City Hall. Call 851-4925 for more information.
2) Determine whether your property is a landmark or located within a historic district. Permits may inform you that the property has been designated, or you may call the Buffalo Preservation Board Office at 851-5029 or see district maps below. You may also reference this list of locally designated properties.
If your property is NOT designated as historic, then no further Preservation Board review is required, unless you are demolishing a building. Chapter 103-6 of City Code requires that all applications for demolitions throughout the entire City, other than garages designed to store up to 3 cars, require a review by the Buffalo Preservation Board prior to permit being released.
3) Consult with Buffalo Preservation Board staff to ensure project will meet the Secretary of the Interior’s Standards for Rehabilitation- the guidelines the Board uses to review applications (This step is optional, but recommended)
4) Complete Preservation Board Application (see below) and submit all necessary information and application fee to 901 City Hall. There is a $26.25 fee for projects under $10,000 in value and a $57.75 fee for projects over $10,000. There is NO fee for owner-occupied structures.
5) Preservation Board staff will contact you to explain the next steps. One of three actions will occur:
- You will be asked to provide further information to complete your application
- A staff-issued Certificate (approval) will be issued for your project (if you are proposing a small repair or an in-kind replacement)
- Your project will be scheduled to be reviewed at an upcoming Preservation Board meeting. Staff will inform you of the date and time of the meeting. Filing deadlines are 8 days in advance of each Preservation Board meeting.
The Buffalo Preservation Board generally meets every other Thursday at 3:00pm in City Hall in rm 901.
Buffalo Preservation Board Members
The Buffalo Preservation Board is comprised of eleven members who have demonstrated an interest in the history or architecture of the City of Buffalo. The Mayor appoints six members, the Common Council President appoints three, and the Landmark Society of the Niagara Frontier and the Buffalo and Erie County Historical Society each appoint one member. Current members are:
Paul McDonnell, Chair (Appointed by Common Council President)
Eric Lander, Vice Chair (Appointed by Common Council President)
Tim Tielman (Appointed by Common Council President)
Edward Watts, Jr. (Appointed by Mayor)
Gwen Howard (Appointed by Mayor)
Russell Maxwell (Appointed by Mayor)
Carla Singleton (Appointed by Mayor)
Sam Gurney (Appointed by Mayor)
John Laping (Appointed by Mayor)
Richard Lippes (Apponited by Buffalo and Erie County Historical Society)
Joseph Kunkemoeller (Appointed by Preservation Buffalo Niagara - formerly Landmark Society of the Niagara Frontier)
Buffalo Historic Districts
* The Buffalo Preservation Board is an agency of the City of Buffalo. It is administered by the City of Buffalo Office of Strategic Planning located at 901 City Hall, Buffalo, NY 14202. The following information is provided as a service of Preservation Buffalo Niagara. Questions or requests for further information should be forwarded to the Buffalo Preservation Board.