Preserving Our Legacy
The City of Boynton Beach is dedicated to integrating historic preservation program into the local planning review process and to increase public awareness of our community’s unique history. The focus of the program is to value American history, architecture, archeology, and culture of the community based on the establishment of historic contexts and themes. The City's Historic Resources and Preservation Board is responsible for maintaining the heritage of our locally or nationally-designated historic buildings and sites for future generations through design review and guidance.
About the Boynton Beach Historic Preservation
The City of Boynton Beach values the preservation of its cultural and historic resources, a priority shown as early as 1979 when the historic Woman’s Club was listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Subsequent preservation initiatives are noteworthy, particularly the completion of the City’s Historic Site Survey in 1996 and ultimately, the adoption of a formal preservation program in 2011. The Preservation Program, in part, contributes to the educational resources available to its citizens and visitors about the city’s history, recognizes the contribution of the visual assets of the city’s history to the city’s special character and sense of community, and contributes to the economic value of the City.
A City ordinance established the main components of the preservation program, such as the Historic Resources Preservation Board, which develops and oversees program components.
Since 2012 the City’s Preservation Program has achieved Certified Local Government (CLG) status by the State of Florida’s Division of Historical Resources.
Frequently Asked Questions
HISTORIC PRESERVATION - Any definition set forth in 36 C.F.R. Part 60 (the then-current Code of Federal Regulation, as may be amended from time to time) shall be included in the definition for such term (and shall control to the extent there is a conflict of meaning), or as an additional definition, if such term is not otherwise defined:
1. ALTERATION - Any construction or change of a resource.
2. BOARD - The Boynton Beach Historic Resources Preservation Board (HRPB).
3. BOYNTON BEACH REGISTER OF HISTORIC PLACES - An official listing maintained by the city of all historic properties and historic districts so designated by these Regulations.
4. BUILDING(S) - A construction, such as a house, garage, church, or hotel, created principally to shelter any form of human activity.
5. CERTIFICATE OF APPROPRIATENESS - A document evidencing approval by the Board or the city staff for work proposed by an applicant.
6. CERTIFICATE OF ECONOMIC HARDSHIP - A document evidencing approval by the Board of an application for economic hardship as that term is defined in these Regulations.
7. CERTIFIED LOCAL GOVERNMENT (CLG) - A local government approved by the Florida Department of State, Division of Historical Resources, to perform certain historic preservation functions.
8. CONTRIBUTING PROPERTY - A property that contributes to the historic significance of a historic district by location, design, setting, materials, workmanship, feeling, and association and thus adds to the district's sense of time, place, and historical development.
9. DEMOLITION - Any act or process that partially or totally destroys a resource.
10. DESIGN GUIDELINES HANDBOOK - Document utilized by the city which illustrates examples of design features, historic styles and treatment options which preserve the historical, cultural and architectural character of a historic district or property.
11. DISTRICT - (see "Historic District" below).
12. ECONOMIC HARDSHIP - An onerous, extreme and exceptional economic burden that would be placed upon a property owner by the denial of an application for a certificate of appropriateness or by the imposition of conditions placed on the granting of such certificate.
13. EFFECT - A change in the quality of the historical, architectural, archeological or cultural significance of a property or district, or in the characteristics that qualify the property or district as historically important.
14. FLORIDA MASTER SITE FILE - An archive and database of all known archaeological and historical sites and districts recorded within the State of Florida that is maintained by the Florida Department of State Division of Historical Resources and is organized alphabetically by county and numerically, as recorded.
15. HISTORIC DISTRICT - A geographically definable area designated by the City Commission as possessing a significant concentration, linkage, or continuity of properties united historically or aesthetically by plan or physical development.
16. HISTORIC PROPERTIES - Those properties designated by the City Commission as being of historical, cultural, architectural or archaeological importance.
17. NATIONAL REGISTER OF HISTORIC PLACES - The official federal list of historic districts, sites, buildings, structures, and objects significant in American history, architecture, landscape architecture, engineering, archaeology, and culture. Authorized under the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966, and by 36 C.F.R. 60 as each may be amended from time to time, and maintained by the U.S. Department of the Interior.
18. NON-CONTRIBUTING PROPERTY - A classification applied to a property within a historic district signifying that it does not contribute to the qualities that give the historic district cultural, historical, architectural, or archaeological significance as embodied in the criteria for designation of a district, but which because of its location within a district should follow the review procedures required by these Regulations.
19. OBJECT - A primarily artistic item closely linked to the history of the property. Said item is typically relatively small in scale and simply constructed, such as a statue, milepost, statuary, or fountain.
20. PROPERTY - Area of land containing a single historic resource or a group of resources, which may include any of a building, site, structure, object, or district.
21. RECONSTRUCTION - The process of reproducing by new construction the exact form and detail of a demolished property as it appeared at a certain point in time.
22. REHABILITATION - The process of repairing or altering a property so that an efficient, sustainable and appropriate contemporary use is achieved, while preserving those significant historical, architectural, or cultural features which establish the character of the property.
23. RELOCATION - Any change of the location of a building, structure or object from its present setting to another setting.
24. RESOURCE - A building, site, structure, object, or district that reflects historical, archaeological, or cultural significance.
25. RESTORATION - The process of accurately recovering the form and details of a property as it appeared at a particular period of time, which may involve the removal of later additions or alterations, or the replacement of missing features.
26. SECRETARY OF THE INTERIOR'S STANDARDS FOR REHABILITATION - A federal document set forth in 36 C.F.R. 67, as amended from time to time, which provides guidance on the sensitive rehabilitation of a historic property.
27. SETTING - The physical environment of a property, including all landscape elements.
28. SITE - The location of an event, a prehistoric or historic occupation or activity, or a building or structure, whether standing, ruined, or vanished, where the location itself possesses historic, cultural, or archaeological value regardless of the value of any existing structure.
29. STRUCTURE(S) - A combination of materials to form a construction, generally used to distinguish from buildings those functional constructions made for purposes other than creating human shelter. (For example, a bridge, wall, fence, pond).
Criteria for Designation & Appropriateness
B. Designation of Historic Properties and Districts.
1. Guidelines for Historic Designation. To qualify as a Property or a District, individual properties must have significance in American history, architecture, archeology, engineering or culture and possess integrity of location, design, setting, materials, workmanship, feeling, and association. For Districts, eligibility is based on the establishment of historic contexts or themes which describe the historical relationship of the Properties within the district. Individual Buildings shall normally be at least 50 years old and, in the case of a District at least 50% of the Buildings shall normally be at least fifty years old. Buildings shall also be significant in one or more of the following areas:
a. Association with events that have made a significant contribution to the broad patterns of the City's history; or
b. Association with the lives of persons significant in the City's past; or
c. Embodies the distinctive characteristics of a type, period or method of construction, or represents the work of a master, or possesses high artistic values, or represents a significant and distinguishable entity whose components may lack individual distinction;
d. Has yielded, or may be likely to yield, information important in prehistory or history; or
e. Is listed in the National Register of Historic Places.
2. Criteria Considerations. Ordinarily cemeteries, birthplaces, graves of historical figures, properties owned by religious institutions or used for religious purposes, structures that have been moved from their original locations, reconstructed historic buildings, properties primarily commemorative in nature, and properties that have achieved significance within the past 50 years shall not be considered eligible for the Boynton Beach Register of Historic Places. However, such properties will qualify if they are integral parts of districts that do meet the criteria or if they fall within the following categories:
a. A religious property deriving primary significance from architectural or artistic distinction or historical importance; or
b. A building or structure removed from its original location but which is primarily significant for architectural value, or which is the surviving structure most importantly associated with a historic person or event; or
c. A birthplace or grave of a historical figure of outstanding importance if there is no appropriate site or building associated with his or her productive life; or
d. A cemetery that derives its primary importance from graves of persons of transcendent importance, from age, from distinctive design features, or from association with historic events; or
e. A reconstructed building when accurately executed in a suitable environment and presented in a dignified manner as part of a restoration master plan, and when no other building or structure with the same association has survived; or
f. A property primarily commemorative in intent if design, age, tradition, or symbolic value has invested it with its own exceptional significance; or
g. A property achieving significance within the past 50 years if it is of exceptional importance.
C. Certificate of Appropriateness.
The Board or staff shall review actions affecting the exterior of Properties and all Resources, including non-contributing Properties, within Districts.
1. Secretary of the Interior's Standards for Rehabilitation. In reviewing an application, the Secretary of the Interior's Standards for Rehabilitation (as may be amended from time to time) shall be applied. The current version is as follows:
a. A Property shall be used for its historic purpose or be placed in a new use that requires minimal change to the defining characteristics of the Building and its site an environment.
b. The historic character of a Property shall be retained and preserved. The removal of historic materials or alteration of features and spaces that characterize a Property shall be avoided.
c. Each Property shall be recognized as a physical record of its time, place, and use. Changes that create a false sense of historical development, such as adding conjectural features or architectural elements from other buildings, shall not be undertaken.
d. Most Properties change over time; those changes that have acquired historic significance in their own right shall be retained and preserved.
e. Distinctive features, finishes, and construction techniques or examples of craftsmanship that characterize a property shall be preserved.
f. Deteriorated historic features shall be repaired rather than replaced. Where the severity of deterioration requires replacement of a distinctive feature, the new feature shall match the old in design, color, texture, and other visual qualities and, where possible, materials. Replacement of missing features shall be substantiated by documentary, physical, or pictorial evidence.
g. Chemical or physical treatments, such as sandblasting, that cause damage to historic materials shall not be used. The surface cleaning of Structures, if appropriate, shall be undertaken using the gentlest means possible.
h. Significant archaeological resources affected by a project shall be protected and preserved. If such resources must be disturbed, mitigation measures shall be undertaken.
i. New additions, exterior Alterations, or related new construction shall not destroy historic materials that characterize the Property. The new work shall be differentiated from the old and shall be compatible with the massing, size, scale, and architectural features to protect the historic integrity of the Property and its environment.
j. New additions and adjacent or related new construction shall be undertaken in such a manner that if removed in the future, the essential form and integrity of the historic Property and its environment would be unimpaired.
2. Additional Criteria. The above Standards for Rehabilitation shall be supplemented by the following criteria specific to certain types of requests:
a. New Construction and Alterations. All new construction and Alterations to existing buildings within a designated historic district or on an individually designated property shall be visually compatible, and meet the following guidelines.
(l) Setting, Orientation and Setbacks. The Building should be situated approximately the same distance from the street as adjacent Buildings, to create a continuous street edge. The orientation of the Building should be visually compatible with that of the buildings in the Historic District. The Setting should be designed with the overall environment in mind. It should take into account the compatibility of landscaping, parking, service areas, walkways, and accessory structures.
(2) Building Height. The height of the Building at street level should be visually compatible in comparison or relation to the height of the existing contributing buildings in the Historic District.
(3) Design Styles. New Buildings should take their design cues from the prevailing architectural styles within the Historic District. Traditional or contemporary design standards and elements should relate to the existing styles.
(4) Proportion of Openings. The openings of any building within a Historic District should be visually compatible with the openings in existing contributing buildings within the Historic District. The relationship of the width of windows and doors to the height of windows and doors should be visually compatible with the existing contributing buildings within the Historic District.
(5) Rhythm of Solids to Voids. The relationship between solids (walls) and voids (windows and doors) of a Building should be visually compatible with the Surrounding Buildings.
(6) Rhythm of Spacing along the Street. The relationship of Buildings to the open space between them should be compatible with the other Buildings on each side of the street in that block.
(7) Relationship of Materials and Textures. The materials and textures of a Building should be chosen with the predominant materials of the Historic District in mind. Simplicity in such use is preferable.
(8) Roof Shapes. The roof shape of a Building is a major distinguishing feature. The roof shape of a Building should be compatible with the roof shape of existing contributing buildings within the Historic District. The roof shape shall be consistent with the architectural style of the Building.
(9) Size, Scale, Bulk, Mass and Volume. The physical size, scale, bulk, mass and volume should be compatible with the existing contributing buildings within the Historic District without overwhelming them.
b. Additions. All additions to historic structures or structures within a Historic District shall meet the following guidelines.
(1) Locate an addition to the rear or least visible sides of historic structures. Locating an addition on the front elevation should be avoided.
(2) Minimize the loss of historic materials from the historic structure and protect character-defining features.
(3) Design the addition to be compatible in terms of massing, size, scale, relationship of solids to voids, and architectural features. An addition should be subordinate to the historic building.
(4) Differentiate the addition from the historic structure.
(5) If permitted, rooftop additions should generally be limited to one story in height, should be set back from the wall plane and should be as inconspicuous as possible.
(6) Continue the design elements on all elevations of the new construction, not only those elevations that can be viewed from the street.
(7) Design and construct the addition so that, if removed in the future, the essential form and integrity of the historic structure will be unimpaired.
(8) Limit the size and number of openings between the old and new building by utilizing existing doors or by enlarging existing windows.
c. Demolition. All demolitions of historic structures within a Historic District shall comply with the following:
(1) Simultaneous certificates required. No Building or Structure on a Property or located within a District shall be demolished without first receiving a Certificate of Appropriateness for new construction. The applications for demolition and new construction shall be reviewed by the Board simultaneously. The requirement of a Certificate of Appropriateness for new construction may be waived by the Board upon a good cause showing that such requirement would be unduly harsh or would result in a substantial hardship to the Property owner.
A showing of good cause may include, but is not limited to, evidence that the Property owner is unable to comply with the requirement for simultaneous new construction due to advanced age, infirmity, physical or other debilitating handicap, or financial hardship.
If an application for Certificate of Appropriateness for Demolition is approved, the owner shall, at his/her expense, fully record the building prior to Demolition. At a minimum, the owner shall provide an architectural description, floor plan with interior and exterior dimensions, interior and exterior photographs, and any other information requested by the Board. Said record shall be deposited in the local archives, where it will be made available to the public.
Upon approval by the Board of a Certificate of Appropriateness for Demolition, the demolition permit shall not be issued until all demolition and new construction plans for the Property have received all other required governmental approvals.
The existence of one or more of the following conditions may be the basis for denial of a demolition application:
(a) The Resource contributes significantly to the historic character of a designated Property or District.
(b) The Resource is listed on the National Register.
(c) The Resource is one of the last remaining examples of its kind in the neighborhood or City.
(d) The Resource is capable of being repaired and reused in a practical and feasible manner.
(e) Retention of the Resource would promote the general welfare of the City by providing an opportunity to study local history, architecture and design, or by developing an understanding of the importance and value of a particular culture or heritage.
(f) Granting a Certificate of Appropriateness for the Demolition would result in an irreparable loss to the City of a significant Resource.
(g) The plans for the simultaneous new construction (if the Demolition is granted) are not compatible with the Property or District.
(2) Demolition Delay Period. The Board may grant a Certificate of Appropriateness for Demolition which may contain a delayed effective date. The effective date will be determined by the Board based on the relative significance of the Resource and the probable time required to arrange a possible alternative to demolition. The Board may delay demolition for up to three (3) months. During the demolition delay period, the Board may take such steps as it deems necessary to preserve the Resource. Such steps may include, but are not limited to: consultations with community groups, public agencies and interested citizens; recommendations for acquisition of the Property by public or private bodies, or agencies; an exploration of the possibility of moving the Resource.
(3) Salvage and Preservation of Specific Features. The Board may require the Property owner to salvage and preserve specified classes of building materials, architectural details, ornaments, fixtures and the like.
(4) Authority to Initiate Designation. If an undesignated property warrants it and it is otherwise authorized under this ordinance, staff may initiate, or recommend that the Board initiate, the designation application and review process. Staff may further request that the Board require that the issuance of a demolition permit be stayed pending the Board's review of the application and the City Commission's decision to designate or deny designation of the property. However, the maximum period during which the issuance of a demolition permit may be stayed pursuant to this paragraph is one hundred twenty (120) days, unless extended by the City Commission. If for any reason the designation process is not completed and the demolition application is approved, the owner shall, at his/her expense, fully record the building prior to Demolition and attempt to salvage and preserve specified classes of building materials, architectural details, ornaments, fixtures and the like.
d. Relocation. The existence of one or more of the following conditions may be the basis for denial of a relocation application:
(1) The historic character or aesthetic interest of the Resource contributes to its present setting in such a manner that relocation would result in a substantial loss to the setting or District.
(2) There are no definite plans for the area to be vacated.
(3) There are definite plans for the area to be vacated that may adversely affect the character of the District.
(4) The Resource cannot be moved without significant damage to its physical integrity.
(5) The proposed relocation area is not compatible with the historic, cultural, and architectural character of the Resource.
(6) Little or no effort has been made to consider relocation within the same District or within another District with compatible historic, aesthetic, cultural, or design qualities with the relocated Resource.
e. Changes in Approved Work. Any change in the proposed work following the issuance of a Certificate of Appropriateness shall be reviewed by staff. If the proposed change does not materially affect the historic character or the proposed change is in accordance with the Board's decision, staff may administratively approve the change. If the proposed change is not in accordance with the Board's decision, a new Certificate of Appropriateness application for such change must be submitted for review.
What is the designation process: The process is part of the City’s Historic Preservation Program established to recognize and promote the preservation of historic properties. The process is adopted within the City’s Land Development Regulations, Part III, Ch. 2, Art. II, Sec. 6.B and Ch. 4, Art. IX, Sec. 6.C.
How can I get more information or provide comments about the designation: Information on the designation request can be obtained by contacting
or e-mailing the Planning & Zoning Division at the contact information indicated in this website, or by attending the hearing. Comments on the proposed designation can be provided to the Planning & Zoning Division or at the public meeting. The public will be given an opportunity to speak at the public hearing.
Will the designation process affect my property: This process will not affect other properties but your property may also be eligible for designation. If your home is older than 50 years and you are interested in whether your property is eligible for designation, contact city staff.
Are appropriate accommodations available to meet special needs: The City shall furnish appropriate auxiliary aids and services where necessary to afford an individual with a disability an equal opportunity to participate in and enjoy the benefits of a service, program, or activity conducted by the City. Please contact the City Clerk’s office at (561) 742-6060, at least forty-eight (48) hours prior to the hearing in order for the City to reasonably accommodate your request.