Certificate of Appropriateness

Requirements and Exemptions



What is a COA?


A Certificate of Appropriateness is a resolution passed by the Rock Island Preservation Commission that certifies an alteration to a Rock Island Landmark or Highland Park Historic District property as “appropriate.” This review process is in place to maintain the integrity of buildings designated Rock Island Landmarks. The COA is a binding review as regulated by the Rock Island Preservation Ordinance.

When is a COA required?


A Certificate of Appropriateness is required for any construction, alteration, demolition, repair or relocation that affects the exterior appearance of any Rock Island Landmark or a property within Highland Park Historic District.
Most exterior building and property changes require a Certificate, including, but not limited to:

  • windows
  • siding
  • doors
  • storm windows
  • storm doors
  • porches
  • exterior decorative elements
  • decks
  • garages
  • roof features
  • skylights
  • sidewalks
  • driveways
  • fences
  • trees over 18”caliper
  • pools
  • gazebos

All exterior construction requiring a building permit also requires a COA. However, some alterations that do not need a building permit do require a COA, especially the removal of decorative items such as brackets, molding, leaded or stained glass windows, etc.

What is exempt from a COA?


  • Replacement-in-kind (replacement of items with items of the exact same construction, materials and dimensions). Call city staff for guidance.
  • Routine repairs and maintenance
  • Color
  • Scraping and repainting surfaces
  • Minor landscape alterations

Additional Information