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Registered Historic Landmarks

FAQs on Registered Historic Landmarks

The City of Tacoma is committed to celebrating and protecting our historic landmarks. The Landmarks Preservation Commission oversees the nomination process for adding buildings or districts to the Tacoma Register of Historic Places and has the authority to review and approve design changes and removal of landmarks in Tacoma.


How many registered landmarks does Tacoma have?

Tacoma has more than 170 registered landmarks, including 11 historic churches.


How are buildings added to the register of historic landmarks?

Buildings must be nominated for addition to the Tacoma Register of Historic Places. Nominations are submitted to the Landmarks Preservation Commission, which reviews and recommends nomination to the City Council for designation.


Nominations should include documentation supporting the physical and cultural historic importance of the building or district and must be:

  • 50 years old or older at the time of nomination
  • Retain the integrity of the location, design, setting, materials, workmanship, feeling and association so it conveys its historical, cultural or architectural significance, and meet one of six additional criteria. For the full list of criteria, visit cityoftacoma.org/historicpreservation.

What does the designation mean?

Once designated, changes to City landmarks are subject to design review by the Landmarks Commission. Such projects may qualify for the City's Special Tax Valuation Program, the Historic Rehabilitation and Repair Loan Program, and potentially other development incentives (such as Transfer of Development Rights).


Can registered historic landmarks be demolished?

Yes, but only if the Landmarks Preservation Commission approves the demolition or there is an imminent threat to public safety. Historic landmarks can be demolished in accordance with TMC 13.05.048 and 13.07.110 of the Land Use Regulatory Code. The code does require the property owner to submit documentation to support the need for demolition to the Landmark Preservation Commission and a public hearing is required before a decision can be issued by the commission.


If the commission denies the request, the property owner can appeal to the Hearing Examiner.


How long does it take for permits to be approved or denied?

The permit process for demolition of registered historic landmarks must be in accordance with TMC 13.05.048 and 13.07.110 of the Land Use Regulatory Code. The process varies in length.


How long has the Holy Rosary Church been registered as a historic landmark?

The Holy Rosary Church was designated a historic landmark on August 19, 1975 by City Council Resolution 23502. The church was the 14th designated City Landmark.


Can the City of Tacoma do anything to prevent the demolition of the Holy Rosary Church?

The Mayor and City staff have offered technical assistance and advised of the code requirements for designated landmarks to Church officials, yet due to the religious classification of the property, no government assistance is available to assist with repair and rehabilitation of the church.


The Church is a registered historic landmark. Demolition of landmarks in the city of Tacoma must be in accordance with TMC 13.05.048 and 13.07.110 of the Land Use Regulatory Code. To demolish a designated historic landmark the permit request must be reviewed and approved by the Landmark Preservation Commission, which requires a public hearing.


If the Landmark Preservation Commission approves demolition, a demolition permit can be issued by the City if all other permit conditions are met.


If the Landmark Preservation Commission denies the permit, the property owner can appeal to the Hearing Examiner.


Currently, the City has not received any permit applications from the property owners of the Holy Rosary Church.