Historic Preservation

About the Program

In 1979, in an effort to combat the loss of the Town of Palm Beach’s historic resources, the Town Council adopted a Historic Preservation Ordinance (Palm Beach Code, Chapter 54, Historic Preservation, Section 54-36). The purpose of this ordinance was to study and protect Palm Beach’s most significant architectural achievements, ensuring that the heritage of Palm Beach would not be lost for future generations. Since that time, the ordinance has been amended a number of times in an effort to clarify the purpose of the ordinance and its requirements.

Landmarks Preservation Commission

The Historic Preservation Ordinance provides for the appointment by the Town Council of a Landmarks Preservation Commission (LPC). This commission is comprised of seven members, six of whom must be Town of Palm Beach residents. The commission meets monthly, on the third Wednesday, to identify significant structures, subject them to a set of objective criteria, and designate the most worthy as landmarks of the Town of Palm Beach. If the LPC determines that a building is worthy of study, the property will be proposed for designation, it will be studied by staff, and later discussed at a subsequent public hearing. At this public hearing, the LPC will vote on whether or not to recommend to the Town Council that the building under consideration be designated a Landmark of the Town of Palm Beach. The Landmarks Commission’s recommendation must be ratified by the Town Council in order to be effectuated.

Determining Historic Districts

The LPC has a similar process for determining historic districts or historically scenic areas. A historic district is intended to protect a specific geographic area that is highly concentrated with significant structures. However, not all buildings within the boundaries of the district need necessarily fulfill the criteria for individual designation.

Landmark Status

Not all old structures are worthy of landmark status. A building must have an important historical association, or be an outstanding example of architectural design, or the significant work of a notable architect or master craftsman. Besides recommending the designation of worthy properties, the LPC also reviews changes and alterations to existing Landmark properties, issues Certificates of Appropriateness for work to be done, and oversees the Town’s Tax Abatement program.

At the present time, 328 landmark properties, sites, and vistas are protected under the Historic Preservation Ordinance of the Town of Palm Beach.