Historic & Architectural Review Commission - HARC


About HARC

The City of Paducah Historical and Architectural Review Commission was established under KRS 100.217. HARC is a special board of adjustment, which has sole and exclusive jurisdiction as a Board of Adjustment over historic zones and the Neighborhood Services Zone (NSZ) within the City. The HARC consists of five members, each appointed by the Mayor and approved by the City Commission. The HARC is a highly specialized administrative body. Where practical, its membership is to include at least two preservation related professional members from the fields of architecture history, archaeology, history, planning, or related fields.  All members shall have an interest in historic preservation and a background of historical study. When one or two professionals are not available, the Mayor may appoint other persons interested in historic preservation to serve.

HARC's main duty is the power to review and approve application for a Certificate of Appropriateness or a Certificate of Zoning Compliance. The City of Paducah's zoning ordinance states that no person shall cause or permit changes in the exterior appearance of real estate lying within a historical zone or the NSZ without first applying for and obtaining a special conditional use permit, to be known as a Certificate of Appropriateness or Certificate of Zoning Compliance. Other duties carried on by the HARC include, but are not limited to

  • Hold Public Hearings
  • Review and approve conditional uses in the H-1 or H-2 Zone
  • ​Review and approve dimensional variances in the H-1 or H-2 Zone
  • ​Review and approve Non-Conforming Uses in the H-1 or H-2 Zone
  • ​Conduct Administrative Reviews
  • ​Hear Zoning Appeals and render decisions
  • ​Administer Certificates of Land Use Restriction for structures in the H-1 or H-2 Zone
  • Review sites for Designation of Historic Districts, Landmarks and Landmark sites within the city
  • Review sites for Nomination to the National Register of Historic Places within the city
HARC Members

Christopher Jones (term expires June 4, 2024) - Chairman
Michael Campbell (term expires March 9, 2024)
Heather Coltharp (term expires June 4, 2024)
Amanda Johnson (term expires June 4, 2024)

HARC Meetings

The Historic & Architectural Review Commission (HARC) meets on the second Monday of every month at 5:30 p.m. in the Commission Chambers of City Hall. Deadlines for these meetings are 21 days before the meeting date before noon. Contact the Paducah Planning Department at 270-444-8690 if you have any questions about the Historic and Architectural Review Commission.

NOTE: Due to renovations in the City Commission Chambers at City Hall, the November and December 2023 HARC meetings will be held in the Team Room at City Hall which is on the first floor.

Recent agendas are posted below.

Agenda - May 13, 2024
Agenda - February 12, 2024
Agenda - January 8, 2024

HARC Minutes

HARC Applications

Use Paducah's Online Services Portal to apply for the following: Certificate of Appropriateness, Certificate of Zoning Compliance, and more!

Apply Online

Paducah's Historic Zones and Demolition Control Zone

H-1 and H-2

The City of Paducah has several historic districts and historic properties listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Paducah has two types of historic zones: the H-1 Historic Commercial Zone, which covers the Market House / Second Street area and the H-2 Historic Neighborhood Zone which includes the Lower Town area. The purpose of the historic zones is to encourage the development, redevelopment, and preservation of Paducah's historic areas. The Historic & Architectural Review Commission reviews all nominations to the Historic Register locally. 

Demolition Control Zone 

The demolition control zone was put into place in order to protect Paducah's historic properties.  Before any building can be torn down in this zone, the applicant must submit a letter of intent and development plans to the Planning Director for review by a committee. The committee consists of the Planning Director, the Chief Building Inspector, and the Chairperson of the Historic and Architectural Review Commission. A majority of vote from this committee must be obtain before any building in this zone can be razed. Note: Buildings that are deemed an emergency public safety threat may not go through this process.

Downtown Demolition Control Zone Map

Jefferson Street-Fountain Avenue Demolition Control Zone Map

Advisory Design Guidelines for Paducah's Historic Neighborhoods

This information is to assist homeowners and business owners who live or work in the LowerTown Historic Neighborhood Zone (H-2), the Downtown Historic Commercial Zone (H-1), and the Neighborhood Services Zone (NSZ) with understanding the Paducah Historic & Architectural Review Commission (HARC) and obtaining a Certificate of Appropriateness or Certificate of Zoning Compliance. The intent is to provide a better understanding of the unique character of the city's historic buildings and neighborhoods and how to incorporate that understanding into designs for alterations, additions, and new infill development.  

A Certificate of Appropriateness or Certificate of Zoning Compliance is required for any changes in the exterior appearance of a structure. Board decisions are based on the Secretary of Interior's Standards for Rehabilitation and Guidelines for Rehabilitating Historic Buildings.

H-1 Zone 

H-1 Downtown Design Standards (rev 2022)

H-2 Zone

Before any exterior work visible from the roadway is done on any structure in the H-2 Historic Neighborhood Zone, a document called a Certificate of Appropriateness is required. A Certificate of Appropriateness can be obtained by making an application and appearing before the Historic and Architectural Review Commission. The guidelines were originally adopted in October of 2002 by the Paducah Historic and Architectural Review Commission and are periodically revised.

H-2 Lowertown Advisory Design Guidelines (rev 2022)

NSZ Zone

Before any exterior work on any facade is done to any structure in the NSZ Zone, a Certificate of Zoning Compliance is required. A Certificate of Zoning Compliance can be obtained by making an application for either staff administrative approval or appearing before the Historic and Architectural Review Commission. These guidelines were originally created in 2007 and may be amended from time to time. Contact the Planning Department to verify the latest information.

Neighborhood Services Zone Fountain Avenue Neighborhood Design Guidelines (rev 2022)

Related Links and Resources

Kentucky Heritage Council - State Historic Preservation Office, Kentucky Tax Credits, and More

National Register of Historic Places - National Park Service

National Trust For Historic Preservation