In 2003, residents of the historic neighborhoods of Melrose Heights and Oaklawn worked with City of Columbia officials to designate Historic Melrose an official architectural conservation district. This distinction helps to protect the architectural heritage of our community by preserving character-defining elements of its historic homes.
In 2016 the Historic Melrose District was added to the National Register of Historic Places [pdf] for its significance in the areas of Architecture, Community Planning and Development, and Landscape Architecture. The National Register of Historic Places is part of a national program to coordinate and support public and private efforts to identify, evaluate, and protect America's historic and archeological resources.
In order to safeguard the special character of the neighborhood, properties within the Historic Melrose district are governed by special guidelines. The priority of the guidelines is to ensure the preservation of a building's character-defining features while accommodating an efficient contemporary use through rehabilitation.
Rehabilitation is a practical approach to historic preservation. It is the process of repairing or altering a historic building while retaining its historic features. It represents a compromise between remodeling, which offers no sensitivity to the historic features of a building, and restoration, which is a more accurate but costly approach to repair, replacement, and maintenance. Rehabilitation guidelines are limited to the review of exterior elements visible from the public right-of-way.
Special tax incentives and other opportunities are available to owners of property in Historic Melrose, including the Bailey Bill. Exterior changes must be approved by the City of Columbia's Design/Development Review Commission.
Be sure to contact City Planning Staff before starting any exterior project.