Certificate of Appropriateness-Minor Works


A certificate of appropriateness (COA) is required for exterior alterations to properties located within the city's local historic districts and historic overlays to ensure compatibility with the historic character of the district. Approval is based on the Wilmington Design Guidelines for Historic Districts and Landmarks(PDF, 9MB). The design standards do not impose a particular architectural style, but encourage compatible design and congruity. COAs for minor work may be approved by administrative bypass which allows the historic preservation planner to approve minor changes to properties to facilitate completion of smaller projects.





The following alterations may be considered for administrative approval. Please submit the information and documents identified for each alteration type that is included in your application.

  • Storm windows: Color and dimension
  • Storm doors: Color and design
  • Fences (Except on corner lots): Plot plan, design, and material
  • Shutters or blinds: Dimension, hardware, material, and color
  • ADA access: Plot plan, design, and materials
  • Signs: Location, dimensions, design, and materials
  • Roofs: In-kind replacement
  • Awnings: Location, material, dimensions, and color
  • Utilitarian garden sheds and play equipment: Plot plan, location, material, dimensions, and design
  • Minor exterior alterations: Location, dimensions, and materials
  • Rear yard decks: Plot plan, design, and materials
  • Brick walkways, paths, driveways, and patios: Plot plan, design, and materials
  • Removal of asbestos siding: Narrative: description of work
  • Restoration of original features, significant later changes, and/or materials based on photographic, physical, or other historical evidence: Materials and historical evidence
  • Six-month extension of COAs: A written reason for request prior to the expiration


Step 1.Pre-Application

A pre-application meeting is encouraged prior to submission of a minor works application. The purpose of the pre-application meeting is to provide general guidance on the proposed alterations. Pre-application meetings may be scheduled by emailing the Historic Preservation team or calling 910.254.0900.

Step 2.Application Review

Upon receipt of an application, staff will determine whether the application is complete. Complete applications are typically reviewed within 7-10 business days. Incomplete applications or applications that require revisions to comply with the Historic Design Standards require additional review time.

Step 3.Certificate of Appropriateness (COA)

If the application is approved, a Certificate of Appropriateness will be issued. All work must be performed in accordance with the approved COA unless a revision is submitted and approved. Work performed that is not consistent with an approved COA may result in a requirement to reverse the work and/or civil penalties.

Step 4.Conversion to Major Work Application

If staff finds the proposed alteration is ineligible for review as minor work or finds the alteration to be inconsistent with the design standards, the applicant has the option to withdraw the application or apply to the Historic Preservation Commission for approval of major work.


Step 1.Electronic Submissions

All applications must be submitted electronically by emailing the Historic Preservation team

Step 2.Application Components

All application components (e.g. application, information required for each alteration type , etc.) must be submitted individually and named accordingly.

Step 3.Large Files

Please contact the Historic Preservation team to make arrangements for files that exceed email limits.

Step 4.Professional Seals

Professional seals (engineers, land surveyors, architects, etc) on digital plans must be redacted from digital copies submitted to the city for review. Please be sure to mark, strike through, or otherwise conceal any professional seal located on your digital (re)submittals (e.g., PDF).



Step 1.Fee Amount

Application fees are based on the estimated cost of the project/proposed improvements as shown below and must be paid in full prior to review of an application for a Certificate of Appropriateness. Fees for applications submitted for work that has already been started or completed (also known as retroactive or After the Fact) include the base fee noted below plus $100.

  • $17,999 or less: $0
  • $18,000-$24,999: $20
  • $25,000-$49,999: $25
  • $50,000-$99,999: $35
  • $100,000-$499,000: $50
  • $500,000 and more: $100

Step 2.Payment Options

If you plan to pay in advance, planning staff must first notify the collections department to enable acceptance of payments.

Payment by Phone (910. 343.4745)

  • 8 am to 5 pm (Monday through Friday except for holidays)
  • Limited to VISA and MasterCard payments.

Payment in Person

  • 8 am to 5 pm (Monday through Friday except for holidays)
  • Billing & Collections Office
    Skyline Center
    929 North Front Street, 1st Floor

Payment by Mail

  • Please include invoice number or account number
  • Regular Mail
    City of Wilmington Collections
    PO Box 1810
    Wilmington, NC 28402
  • Express Mail
    City of Wilmington Collections

    929 North Front Street, 1st Floor
    Wilmington, NC 28401