What? The City of Burlington designation program is enabled by State of North Carolina legislation (General Statutes 160A-400.1 through 160A-400.14). Locally significant individual buildings, structures, sites, areas or objects may qualify for landmark designation, while significant neighborhoods may qualify as districts that are established through special use zoning or overlay zoning.
Why? As with the National Register program, local designation is primarily an honor. For local landmarks, there is the added benefit of being eligible to apply for an annual 50% deferral of local property taxes. This deferral remains with the landmarks long as the property's historic features are maintained-both inside and out. Eligibility for the local tax deferral is based on compliance with local commission's Design Review Manual that is based on the Secretary of the Interior's Standards for Rehabilitation, approved by the State Historic Preservation Office and adopted by the Burlington City Council.
For local districts, the primary economic benefit is stability (if not growth) of property values. This stability stems from the protection of owners from inappropriate changes to the exteriors of other buildings in the neighborhood, and the protection is based in the local commission's Design Review Manual.
How? The Burlington Historic Preservation Commission studies and recommends local landmarks and districts to the Burlington City Council. After input from the State Historic Preservation Office is received, the City Council holds a public hearing and votes to approve or disapprove the recommendation. If approved, an ordinance is passed, designating the local landmark or district.