Boulder’s Historic Landmarks and Planning

Posted by on Friday, November 21st, 2014 at 7:50am.

Re/MAX of Boulder Radio continues its history kick this week with Duane Duggan interviewing James Hewat, the senior historic preservation planner for the City of Boulder.  Boulder has a wealth of historic districts and landmark buildings and Hewat gave us the scoop on what that means for homeowners, buyers, REALTORS®, and citizens of Boulder.

Hewat has been with the City of Boulder as a historic preservation planner for 10 years and has a masters degree in historic preservation.  His deep knowledge of Boulder history and years of experience in preservation make him the perfect resource for anyone interested in making their property a landmark or proposing changes to already landmarked buildings.  

To give us a better understanding of what the Landmark Board does, Hewat began by explaining that the board originated with the Historic Preservation Ordinance in the 1970s.  The citizens of Boulder drafted the ordinance out of concern for the loss of historic buildings.  Once drafted it was brought to the city council and adopted, creating the need for a Landmark Board.  The mission of the Landmark Board is to identify, designate, and review what will happen to historic buildings.  However, the Landmark Board for the city of Boulder is not the same as Historic Boulder, which Hewat explained, is a city wide non-profit which advocates for city preservation.       

Boulder has come a long way since the 1970s and now has 10 historic districts and over 70 recognized landmarks.  With so many historic buildings needing to be preserved, it’s easy to see why the Landmark Board is so busy.  Not only do they designate which buildings are landmarked and preserved, they also oversee demolition permits necessary for everything from small adjustments to total demolitions.  

Hewat also covered the landmarking process for both homeowners and the city as well as the procedures for demolition permits.  While about 95% of demolition permits applied for are easily approved, there is a small portion that proves to be more problematic.  The same is true for landmarking a home.

In terms of selling and buying a home Hewat assured us that landmarking is a good thing. While some people may wonder if there are benefits to a landmarked home, he said in the long run studies have shown that landmarked homes do better on the market.  In addition, landmarking a home also comes with other incentives.

If you have any questions about landmarking a building or the demolition permit process the Landmark Board is very accessible and James Hewat is always happy to help.  For more information on any of these topics listen to the full radio interview at  For a complete list of the 10 historic districts and landmarked properties on a map or to learn more about the Landmark Board visit

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