The City of Frankfort has a rich history that is reflected in its diverse collection of buildings, structures, and landscapes. These irreplaceable resources define the character of our community and serve as visual anchors that provide a link to our past. The City of Frankfort recognizes the power of such places in defining our unique community identity and encourages their preservation and use.
To protect these resources and encourage compatible development in these areas, the city has three historic zoning districts – Special Capital, Central Business, and Special Historic. Properties that are zoned as one of these three districts have special design guidelines for exterior renovation and new construction.
Through the office of Planning and Community Development, the City of Frankfort has established preservation planning programs and processes and routinely works with organizations and private property owners to meet the goal of preserving, protecting, and celebrating our historic places. If you are not sure if your property is located within one of Frankfort’s three historic districts, contact the Planning Department at 502-352-2094.
The City has adopted a Historic Preservation Ordinance (Article 17 of the Zoning Regulations) and utilizes an Architectural Review Board with both administrative and Board approvals for Certificates of Appropriateness on exterior changes to buildings, demotions, and new construction within these districts. Two of the local historic districts - Special Historic and Central Business - have their own Design Guidelines that provide helpful information for property owners in these areas when planning a project and are utilized during project review for Staff and the Architectural Review Board when making determinations for Certificates of No Exterior Effect and Certificates of Appropriateness. The Special Capital district utilizes Article 17 of the Zoning Ordinance for this process, however new design guidelines are planned for this area in 2021.
Architectural Review Board
The City's Architectural Review Board (ARB) generally meets the third Tuesday of each month beginning at 5 p.m. and consists of 7 members - each of whom has a demonstrated historic preservation background.
The ARB hears cases within the SC, SH, or CB historic zoning districts relating to exterior modifications to properties , new construction, additions, demolitions, and reviews local/national register designation request. The Board also acts as the Board of Zoning Adjustment for variance and conditional use permit requests for properties with historic district zoning - CB, SH, and SC.
Kentucky Heritage Council
The Kentucky Heritage Council (KHC) is the State Historic Preservation Office, responsible for the identification, protection and preservation of prehistoric resources and historic buildings, sites and cultural resources throughout the Commonwealth. KHC administers both the Kentucky Historic Preservation Tax Credit, in partnership with the Kentucky Department of Revenue, and the Federal Historic Rehabilitation Tax Credit, in partnership with the National Park Service (NPS). Two National Historic Districts fall within the city - South Frankfort and Central Frankfort - and some properties in these districts are eligible for tax credits if they meet eligibility requirements. The city is a member of the Certified Local Government Program a local, state, and federal partnership that promotes historic preservation planning and protection of prehistoric and historic resources at the local level.
Preservation Briefs provide guidance in preserving, rehabilitating, and restoring historic buildings. These NPS Publications help historic building owners recognize and resolve common problems prior to work including the repair of historic wood windows, roofing for historic buildings, and exterior additions to historic structures.
The briefs are especially useful when applying for Historic Preservation Tax Incentives Program as they recommend methods and approaches for rehabilitating historic buildings that are consistent with the Secretary of the Interior's Standards for the Treatment of Historic Properties.
The property tax moratorium defers the value of improvements to an existing building from the taxable assessment of the property for five years. In other words, your city property taxes continue to be based on the pre-improvement assessment for five years, rather than being raised to reflect a higher assessment resulting from improvements made to the property. For more information, see the forms below.
- Property Tax Moratorium Application
- Property Tax Moratorium Brochure
- Property Tax Moratorium Ordinance
VALUE OF historic preservation
If you would like to learn more about the value of preservation, check out this article from the National Trust for Historic Preservation.
Historic Preservation Regulations
- Living in a Historic District - Fast Facts Brochure
- Repairing Wood Windows Brochure
- Central Business District Regulations 4.24 (PDF)
- Central Business Design Guidelines
- Special Capital District Regulations 4.41 (PDF)
- Special Historic District Regulations 4.40 (PDF)
- Special Historic Zoning District Design Guidelines (PDF)
- Article 17 - Architectural Review Board