Economic Benefits of Historic Preservation

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Q. What do Sarasota, Charleston, Boston, and Savannah have in common?
A. All four, and hundreds more communities like them, have historic preservation programs designed to identify and protect their unique heritages. Protecting the historical resources of a community enhances overall property values and facilitates resale opportunities.

Q. What are historic resources?
A. Historic resources are homes, commercial buildings, farm buildings, bridges, public fountains, walls and markers, to name a few.
Q. How do preservation programs facilitate home sales?
A. Preservation programs within historic districts often increase the value of individual homes. Additionally, historic districts have distinct identities that add to their value as a place.
Q. What programs are available in Sarasota County to preserve and rehabilitate historic resources?
A. Historic designation and a tax exemption for historic properties.
Q. What is the Tax Exemption Ordinance?
A. Sarasota County's tax exemption regulation, Article V of chapter 66 of the Sarasota County Code, allows property owners to apply for an exemption on the increase in the assessed value attributed to qualifying improvements to historically designated properties. The exemption applies to county ad valorem taxes for a period up to ten years.
Q. How can the buyer/homeowner benefit from the ordinance?
A. The tax exemption ordinance provides several benefits:
1) exemption from county ad valorem taxes
2) free design assistance from Historic Preservation Board
3) transferability between owners
Q. What improvements are eligible?
A. Improvements to real property, such as: building additions, window replacement, site improvements, and removal of historically incompatible materials.
Q. Who reviews the Tax Exemption applications?
A. The application is developed in concert with county preservation staff. Final design review and approval is conducted by the county Historic Preservation Board in accordance with established guidelines for historic rehabilitations.
Q. Is the Tax Exemption transferable from buyer to seller?
A. Yes, for a period of up to ten years. The final decision to grant or deny the exemption lies with the Sarasota Board of County Commissioners.
Q. How much can it save?
A. An addition was completed on a historically designed property on the Siesta Key waterfront. The construction value of this large addition was $65,000. The result was an increased assessment on the improvement of $72,000. At the current millage rate of 3.93, this property owner would save $283 annually with the tax exemption.
A historic structure on Cocoanut Avenue in downtown Sarasota underwent a major rehabilitation after a fire. The construction value of the remodeling was $88,000, and resulted in an increased assessment on the improvement of $79,000. This property owner would save $310 annually with the tax exemption.
Q. How does a homeowner apply for the tax exemption?
A. Please click on the Historic Preservation tab on the left side bar for further information and the application form.