City Historic Designations and Design Review


NOTE: Applications, forms, and checklists available on this page are in the process of being updated as part of the permitting system upgrade. For more information, please contact or visit our FAQ page about TDC Online.


City Historic Preservation Zones (HPZs)

Historic Preservation Zones (HPZs) are City of Tucson zoning overlays enabled by a 1972 ordinance. Most of these areas are also nationally designated Historic Districts listed in the National Register of Historic Places. The purpose, standards and review process can be found in Section 5.8 of the Unified Development Code. There are six designated HPZs within the City, which require compliance with specific development standards and design guidelines for exterior alterations to existing historic and non-historic buildings and for new construction, including work that does not require a building permit. The Rio Nuevo and Downtown (RND) Zone is another zoning overlay which requires that exterior alterations of historic buildings follow national standards for rehabilitating historic properties.


Design Review Process

Reviews of proposed building plans within Historic Preservation Zones (HPZs) apply general Technical Standards and also specific Design Guidelines, and involve neighborhood HPZ Advisory Boards, the Tucson-Pima County Historical Commission, and the Director of the Planning and Development Services Department. Appeals and proposed demolitions of historic buildings within these zones require additional review and approval by the Mayor & Council during public hearings. In the Rio Nuevo and Downtown (RND) Zone, review by the Historical Commission is required for exterior alterations to historic buildings, and additional approval by the Mayor & Council is required for demolitions of historic buildings.

All applications should be submitted via Tucson Development Center Online

Historic and Special District Application Instructions

Historic Preservation Zone Application and Design Review Process

Historic Preservation Zone Review Checklist 

Historic Demolition Documentation

Zona de Preservación Histórica (HPZ) - Spanish 

Technical Standards

Design Guidelines

Fort Lowell Historic Preservation Zone (1.36 MB)

West University Historic Preservation Zone (1.92 MB)

Barrio Historico (Barrio Viejo) Historic Preservation Zone (1.75 MB)

Armory Park Historic Preservation Zone (1.53 MB)

El Presidio Historic Preservation Zone (1.56 MB)


Advisory Boards and Commissions

For each HPZ proposed or established, an HPZ advisory board is appointed to assist the Mayor and Council and the Planning and Development Services Department (PDSD) in evaluating establishment of, or amendment to, an historic zone and in evaluating proposed development within an adopted Historic Preservation Zone.  See UDC section 2.2.8 for more detailed information.

Armory Park Historic Zone Advisory Board

Barrio Historico Historic Zone Advisory Board

El Presidio Historic Zone Advisory Board

Fort Lowell Historic Zone Advisory Board

West University Historic Zone Advisory Board

Tucson-Pima County Historical Commission

City Historic Landmarks

Individual properties in Tucson designated as City Historic Landmarks. This type of designation of locally significant historic properties is initiated and approved by the Mayor and Council. Learn more: City Historic Landmarks

City Historic Landmark Signs

Tucson has a unique character, history, and identity reflected in its historic and iconic signs. In 2011, the Mayor and Council passed an ordinance to amend the Sign Code, encouraging the maintenance, restoration and reuse of historic signs. Go here to learn more: Historic Landmark Signs Preservation Program.


Archaeological Sensitivity Zones

Eleven areas within the City of Tucson are designated as sensitive areas for ground disturbances because of known concentrations of significant archaeological sites. In these zones, excavation permits to dig in City Right-of-Ways require archaeological monitoring of all digging unless a waiver is provided by the City Historic Preservation Office. Map of Archaeological Sensitivity Zones