Sarasota County government has implemented a robust historic preservation program. In 1997, the Board of County Commissioners (BCC) enacted a historic preservation ordinance (Chapter 66 of the Sarasota County Code), creating a local register of historic places and a tax exemption program for qualifying improvements to locally-listed historical resources.
Chapter 66 formalized the review of significant historical resources not yet listed through the review of certain development applications. Through the mechanisms enacted by this ordinance, the preservation of the irreplaceable historical resources of the county has become an established and successful planning tool in Sarasota County.
Since its beginning, the program has locally listed a total of 38 individual landmarks and 4 historic districts throughout the unincorporated areas of Sarasota County.
Historic Preservation Board
The Historic Preservation Board (HPB) is an advisory board to the Board of County Commissioners (BCC). The HPB is charged with the responsibility of various historic preservation functions according to Chapter 66.
These responsibilities include:
- Review of designation applications to the Sarasota County Register of Historic Places
- Review of Certificate of Appropriateness (COA) applications
- Review of Ad Valorem Tax Exemption applications
The HPB, in its advisory role, does not make the final determination for most applications. Instead, all applications, except COA applications, are forward to the BCC for their final approval.
More information on the HPB, including their annual calendar, can be found on the HPB webpage.
Ad Valorem Tax Exemption
The ad valorem tax exemption program is one of the benefits that Sarasota County government offers to owners of locally-designated historic properties. For a property to qualify for the tax exemption, it must be locally listed, and the qualifying improvements must be reviewed and approved by the HPB.
If a property owner is considering improvements to a historic property, it is highly encouraged that they contact Historical Resources staff for guidance.
It should be noted that an owner should never undertake improvements on a historic property with the expectations of receiving a tax exemption without consulting with Historical Resources staff first.
More information on Sarasota County's ad valorem tax exemption can be found in Chapter 66.
Application information for Sarasota County's ad valorem tax exemption can be found on the HPB webpage.
All property owners considering the designation of a historical resource to the local Sarasota County Register of Historic Places are highly encouraged to contact Historical Resources staff.
Listing a historical resource to the local register is the most successful way to preserve an important historical building, structure, or object for future generations. Listing confers certain protections to the resource(s). These protections ensure that the unique characteristics and significance of the resource(s) are preserved. This is primarily achieved through the careful stewardship of the resource by its owner and through the review of COA applications for exterior alterations. COA applications typically include, but are not limited to, exterior additions, replacement of exterior windows and doors, new siding, new roofing, etc.
Application information for Sarasota County's historic designation can be found on the HPB webpage.
National Register of Historic Places (NRHP)
The National Register of Historic Places is a federal registry and should not be confused with the local Sarasota County Register of Historic Places. Historical resources can be listed on both registries, but listing on the NRHP does not automatically list historical resources on Sarasota County's register and vice versa.
The NRHP in Florida is administered by the Florida State Historic Preservation Office in Tallahassee. More information on the NRHP can be found on the state's preservation webpage.