1. What makes a property historically significant?
Generally, historically significant properties are at least 50 years old, possess architectural, aesthetic or historical value. That value is typically judged by an association with events that have taken place over the course of time, for example, an association with a person who has made contributions to history, whose work is of architectural distinction, or is likely to yield information about our history or prehistory.
2. What is Historic Preservation?
Historic Preservation encompasses a wide range of activities such as: identification, documentation, protection, maintenance, adaptive re-use, restoration, land acquisition, neighborhood redevelopment & stabilization for structures or landmarks deemed significant to the city’s architecture and history.
3. Who designates a structure or site Historic?
Historic designation can occur at the Federal, State, and local level. A property is historic if it is listed on the National Register, Florida Inventory of Historic Places, or a local list of historic places. In the City of Stuart, properties are reviewed and listed on the City of Stuart Historic Properties Survey (initially completed in 1991 by Historic Properties Associates, Inc., St Augustine, Florida) and is maintained and amended by the City Development Department.
4. What are the benefits of National Historic Designation?
National Historic Designation qualifies properties for federal grants, tax credits & deductions, and property consideration in the federal planning process.
5. What are the benefits of State of Florida (Division of Historic Resources) Historic Designation?
The State of Florida may provide grants through the Historic Preservation Grant Program to approved applicants. Buildings listed on the National Registry are considered highly competitive. Funds are allocated by the Florida Legislature.
6. What are the benefits of Local Historic Designation?
Local Historic Designation by the City of Stuart and/or Martin County may qualify a property owner for a ten year ad valorem tax exemption on the assessed value of pre-approved improvements to a historic structure. Eligibility for this exemption is determined by the Stuart City Commission and the Martin County Preservation Board.
In addition, to promote adaptive re-use, locally designated properties in the City’s Urban District may be eligible for a credit of up to a 50 percent against required off-street parking.
From time to time, the City’s Community Redevelopment Agency (CRA) may provide funding for historic preservation elements for those properties that qualify.
7. Does Historic Preservation in the City of Stuart dictate what I can do with my property?
Historic Preservation in the City is essentially voluntary. Property owners are provided with incentives to preserve and maintain historic structures. A waiting period of 30 or 90 days is applicable when a permit to demolish a historic building is sought, during which voluntary preservation options can be explored. As is the case with all buildings, owners of historic structures may not allow them to fall into disrepair.