The following are answers to some common questions regarding historic preservation and historic registers. You will also find procedures for nominating an historic property to the City, State, and National Registers, as well as guidelines for obtaining permission to make exterior changes to a structure already listed on the City Register.
Q: Is there a walking tour map of historic resources, and how do I get one?
A: The City of Reno, Community Development Department offers a map of historic resources in downtown Reno, including a description of each structure's significance. For a Reno walking tour map, contact Claudia Hanson at (775) 334-2381. The Heritage Tourism Coalition offers a map of historic sites in Reno, Sparks, Virginia City, Fallon, and Carson City. For this map, contact Nancy Holmes at (775) 852-2094.
Q: Who do I contact if I have a question about my historic property?
A: Contact Claudia Hanson, Planning and Engineering Manager, at (775) 334-2381.
Q: Are there any grants, loans, tax incentives, or other ways to help finance improvements to my historic structure?
A: Buildings included on the National Register of Historic Places are eligible for a federal tax incentive for rehabilitation if the building is used for income-producing purposes. Contact the State Historic Preservation Office for information, (775) 684-3445.
The National Trust offers grants and loans to non-profit organizations, and has established an insurance program for owners of historic houses. Visit the National Trust Web site for more information.
The Nevada Commission for Cultural Affairs (CCA) provides grants for the rehabilitation of historic buildings that will be used as cultural centers. Grant applications are due October 1 each year. For more information on the CCA grant program, call Mella Harmon at (775) 684-3447.
Q: How do I go about registering my historic structure on the Reno City Register of Historic Places?
A: Download the City of Reno Register of Historic Places Nomination Form
Generally, if your property is 50 years old or older, it may be eligible for listing on the City Register of Historic Places. The HRC may make exceptions for outstanding examples of certain architectural styles or places associated with important people in Reno's history. The following steps should be taken to nominate a property to the City Register. Plese see the Registration Guidelines.
Q: How do I go about registering my historic structure on the State of Nevada or National Register of Historic Places?
A: The State Historic Preservation Office administers the State Register of Historic Places and the National Register of Historic Places. Contact National Register Coordinator, at (775) 684-3447, or visit the State Historic Preservation Office Web site.
Q: What happens after my property is listed on the City, State, or National Register? Am I still free to make changes to it?
A: If your property is listed on the City Register, you can make interior changes to your building. To maintain the integrity of the City Register of Historic Places, the HRC requires a Certificate of Appropriateness for exterior changes to the building, including features such as masonry walls, fences, light fixtures, steps, pavement, and advertising signs. Other changes that require the permission of the HRC include altering, moving, or partially demolishing an historic property, or construction of another structure in the vicinity of the historic building. Please refer to Section 18.30.100 of the Historic Preservation Ordinance (PDF format) for instructions and guidelines for obtaining a Certificate of Appropriateness.
Q: Where and when does the Historical Resources Commission meet?
A: The HRC meets at 3:00 P.M. the second Thursday of every other month at Reno City Hall, One East First Street, Reno. You can view meeting agendas at the Washoe County Library (Downtown Branch), Reno City Hall, and the McKinley Arts and Culture Center.
Q: Can I donate an historic sign or other historic artifact to the HRC?
A: If you wish to donate an artifact to the City of Reno, contact the City Manager's Office to be placed on a City Council meeting agenda. The HRC provides historic preservation advice and review to the City of Reno, and does not have any facilities for the acceptance and storage of artifacts.
Q: How can I help in preservation efforts in Reno?
A: Since the Historical Resources Commission is an advisory committee, it cannot advocate opposition to the demolition of historic buildings. However, an organized citizens' preservation group could address these issues. Also, the HRC has monthly public meetings. Check the notices in the newspaper for the location and times of these meetings. Every spring, the National Trust for Historic Preservation and the State Historic Preservation Office sponsors an Historic Preservation Week. Activities vary and can include walking tours and historic preservation awards. Call the SHPO at (775) 684-3448 for more information. Additionally, the University of Nevada offers Historic Preservation courses at the undergraduate and graduate levels every semester and professional development courses through the Continuing Education Department. Contact the University for more information.
Q: If my property is on the Register, will I be prohibited from making changes to my house?
A: If your property is listed on the City Register, you can make interior changes to your building. To maintain the integrity of the City Register of Historic Places, the HRC requires a certificate of appropriateness for exterior changes. This process is simple and is designed to help you preserve the historic character of your property.
Q: What are the benefits of listing my property?
A: An additional to the public recognition of your historic building as a significant historic resource in our community, tax credits may be available to you. Properties listed on the City Register may be eligible for uses other than those allowed in your current zone with a special use permit. The HRC is sensitive to the financial impacts of listing a property on the register. Often, listing on the City Register has little or no financial impact on the owner. In cases where the listing does have financial impact, the HRC will work with the owner to minimize these impacts.
Q: I do not own a historic property, but I am interested in Historic Preservation in Reno. What can I do to get involved?
A: Recently, several historic buildings have been threatened in Reno. Generally, opposition has been strong to the demolition of these buildings, but sometimes this is not enough. An organized citizen’s preservation group could address the issues. The HRC is an advisory committee and, as such, can not advocate for these issues in the way a private citizens’ groups can. Also, HRC has monthly public meetings. Check the notices posted on the calendar page of reno.gov for the location and time of these meetings, or call Claudia Hanson at (775) 334-2381. Every spring, the National Trust for Historic Preservation Office sponsors a Historic Preservation Week. Activities vary and can include walking tours and historic preservation awards. Call the State Historic Preservation Office at (775) 684-3448 for more information. Additionally, the University of Nevada offers Historic Preservation courses at the undergraduate and graduate levels every semester and professional development courses through the Continuing Education Department. Contact University for more information.