Certificate of Appropriateness

A Certificate of Appropriateness (COA) is similar to a building permit, and is required before beginning exterior work in a local or national register historic district. A COA is issued by the Historic Preservation Commission (HPC) and indicates that the proposed change has been reviewed and approved. Once the COA has been obtained, the applicant can apply for a building permit. In cases where a building permit is not required, it is still necessary to acquire a COA before beginning the project.

The COA is only valid for the project it was approved by the HPC. Any changes to the plans approved by the Commission must be reviewed by the HPC. Often, city staff can approve changes, but the Community Development office must be notified before changes are made.

The HPC will act on the application at the next available meeting. A completed application accompanied by a fee as specified in the city fee schedule is required to process any application that requires HPC approval.

Completed COA applications should be received no later than 10 days prior to the meeting to be placed on the agenda and included in Commission packets. While late submittals are not encouraged, we recognize that occasionally circumstances may necessitate, however, any COAs received after 12:00 p.m. on the Mnoday, the week prior to a Commission meeting, will not be considered until the next scheduled HPC meeting. Regular meetings are held at 5 p.m. on the second Wednesday of each month, Hall of Waters, Council Chambers.

It is recommended that the applicant arrange a meeting with the Community Development Department prior to submitting an application for Certificate of Appropriateness. City staff can be reached at 816-630-0756. The applicant, property owner, or authorized agent should attend the Historic Preservation Commission meeting when the COA is reviewed.

For additional information, download the COA form.

Staff Review

The Community Development Director serves as city staff to the HPC and makes recommendations to the Commission based on the preservation and zoning ordinances and design guidelines. In some cases, a COA may be issued for items considered “minor works,” including:
In-kind repairs, maintenance and replacement of existing features and architectural details.
Landscaping, driveways and sidewalks.
Removal of non-historic materials.
Renewal of an expired COA without change to the original approval.
All other changes that do not require a building permit.
Emergency repairs to abate a hazardous condition.

Refer to the Certificate of Appropriateness Approval Matrix for a detailed list.


Appeals may be filed with the Board of Zoning and Adjustment within thirty (30) days after the Historic Preservation Commission’s decision.

Stop Work Order

If a project that requires a Certificate of Appropriateness has been initiated without prior approval, a stop work order may be issued to the owners, occupants, contractors or subcontractors.

If a project fails to comply with any part of the COA that has been issued by HPC, a stop work order may be issued, which states the violation and the deadline by which to rectify the violation.


Certificates of Appropriateness are effective for a period of twelve (12) months. If applicable, a building permit for the work described in the COA should be applied for after receipt of COA. The Certificate of Appropriateness will expire at the end of twelve (12) months and if the work has not been completed, the applicant will be required to request a new COA.