Benefits of Historic Designations

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What is historic about Sarasota?

  •  Although Sarasota's historic resources often seem "young in comparison to those in other communities, the first European settlers arrived here before the Civil War.
  • Structures still remain in Sarasota which date from the late 1800's, although most of our documented historic resources are from the Florida Land Boom of the 1920's.
  • Recently, attention has been directed to Sarasota's post-World War II modern architectural movement, referred to as the Sarasota School of Architecture.
What benefit is it to the homeowner to become designated?
  •  Historic designation entitles an owner to a variety of programs to encourage the preservation of significant historical resources.
  • These range from incentives  to promote sensitive historical rehabilitation by offering some relief from building and zoning codes, and an ad-valorem tax exemption for qualifying improvements to historic structures.
  • More information on these programs is available from Sarasota County Historical Resources.
  • The Director of Historical Resources is also authorized to install an official plaque to identify designated historical resources.
How do you identify a home's potential for historic designation?
  •  Generally, structures need to be at least fifty years old for historic designation, and they must possess historical integrity, i.e. the ability to relay their historical significance through their physical appearance.
  • Additionally, resources must be associated with a significant historical events or figures, or associated with a defined historical context, embody the distinctive characteristics of an architectural style or method of construction, or be able to yield information important in history or pre-history.
How do you designate a historic resource?
  •  A site, building, structure, object, or even a district can be historically designated on the local or national levels.
  • The federal listing of historic buildings is called the National Register of Historic Places.
  • Application for the National Register are available online at, or by calling the Florida Department of State, Division of Historical Resources at 1-800-847-7278.
In Sarasota County, historic designations are conferred by the city of Sarasota, city of Venice, or Sarasota County.
  • Sarasota County's application for historic designation.
  • Each program has its own historic preservation board with advisory powers to its city or county commission.
  • Eligibility for these various registers is based on geographic location.
  • The good news is that all of the programs use the same criteria for evaluating historical significance.
Does historic designation limit future alterations to the property?
Additions and changes to historically designated structures must be reviewed and approved by the local historic preservation board to ensure the integrity of the resource is preserved. Properties listed in the National Register have no restrictions on alterations unless there is federal involvement in the project.