Property Designation

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Why Historic Designation? 

First and foremost, you can help strengthen Brighton’s future! Historic buildings help create vibrant centers (downtowns, cultural and retail districts, and neighborhoods) that draw tourism, the arts, festivals, and other activities that in turn draw investment, revenue, and economic growth. But here are a few more:

What Places Qualify? Age, Significance & Integrity:

Generally, a property must be at least 50 years old and still look much the way it did in the past. However, younger properties may qualify if determined exceptionally important. A property may also qualify for a historic register based on significance, such as: 

  • An association with events, activities, or developments that were important in the past.
  • An association with the life of a person(s) who made a significant contribution to history.
  • An example of significant architectural history, landscape history, or engineering achievements.
  • A geographic or archaeological potential of important historical information. 

A geographic area of multiple buildings and structures may qualify for a historic district designation. For local designation, at least 50 percent of these properties must possess historic significance. The number of non-contributing properties for national designation depends on how these properties affect the district’s integrity. You may have heard that a property that has been moved or that a gravesite or cemetery does not qualify for designation. However, there are additional considerations related to these and other special cases. It is also quite common for a property that is not eligible for state or national designation to qualify on the local level. Therefore, we encourage you to work with a historic-preservation representative when evaluating criteria. 

How to Apply? First Steps:

Local Designation of a historic landmark or historic district may be initiated by the owner (or at least 51 percent of property owners in a proposed historic district). The Brighton City Council, Historic Preservation Commission, or the City Manager may also nominate a property. Significant measures must be made to obtain the property owner’s approval. If this consent is not obtained, the Brighton City Council may consider and approve a designation review.

To apply for local designation, complete and submit the Nomination Questionnaire and Nomination Application linked here. For additional information/assistance with local applications, contact the Historic Preservation Administrator, Emma Lane, at 303-655-2051 or

State and National Designations are made by property owners, historical societies, preservation organizations, governmental agencies, and other individuals or groups. All nominations require the active consent of the property owner. 

Properties listed in the National Register of Historic Places are automatically placed in the Colorado State Register. However, properties may also be nominated separately to the Colorado State Register without inclusion in the National Register. 

To begin the process, contact the Office of Archaeology and Historic Preservation (OAHP) by phone (303-866-3392) or e-mail for helpful references and assessment of eligibility.

Is the property protected? Can changes be made freely? What about costs? 

Private owners of state- and national-registered properties using private funds may alter or demolish properties within local building regulations. Properties involving federal- or state-agency actions or funding are reviewed by OAHP with the goal of preserving historic resources whenever possible. Locally-designated properties require a Certificate of Appropriateness (COA) for exterior alterations.

There are no fees associated with applying for or maintaining designation. Plaques may be purchased to commemorate state and national designation and may be provided for local designations. 

Cost impacts of material improvement costs may be offset when considering possible energy-savings, environmental impacts, any tax credits, and possible increased property values. 

How do I apply for a Certificate of Appropriateness (COA)?

You will have to fill out an application through our online portal, IDT. Here is the link to the IDT service which is how Brighton processes COAs:

 Additionally, here is a website link to one of our city pages that talks about IDT a little more, just if you haven’t filled out an application via IDT yet or if you were interested in learning more:

Once you make a login and sign in, you will see it request and “­­­Application Type” and there you will choose the “Historic Preservation Certificate of Appropriateness” category from the drop-down.