Cooper-Young is proud to be a landmarks historic district in the city of Memphis. That means that there some restrictions on residential construction and updates. However, they are the​​ ​least​ ​restrictive​​ ​guidelines​ ​out of​ ​all​ ​of​ ​the​ ​13​ ​existing​ ​Historic​ ​Districts​ ​in​ ​Memphis. We believe these guidelines give freedom to the homeowner while retaining the architectural integrity of the neighborhood.

We understand this can be a confusing process. Homeowners approach the CYCA all the time with questions about how to get started on their new porch or windows. Therefore, we have created some FAQs to get you started. If your question is not answered here, you are encouraged to call or email us before beginning your project. Contact information can be found at the end of the FAQ.

What are the boundaries of Cooper-Young?

The Cooper-Young Historic Landmark District includes the area bounded by Central Avenue on the North, East Parkway on the East, Southern Avenue on the South, and McLean Boulevard on the West.

What sorts of projects do I have to get approved?

  • New​ ​construction
  • Habitable​ ​additions​ ​to​ ​existing​ ​structures
  • Non-habitable​ ​additions​ ​to​ ​existing​ ​structures
  • Outbuildings​ ​and​ ​new​ ​fencing
  • Demolition
  • Relocation

These projects require a Certificate of Appropriateness from the Office of Planning and Development.

What is a Certificate of Appropriateness?

A Certificate of Appropriateness is simply a document stating that the proposed work is appropriate for the historic district and meets criteria in the local code.

So what if I am doing something not listed above?

If​ ​you​ ​are​ ​not​ ​doing​ ​any​ ​of​ ​those​ ​alterations​ ​to​ ​your​ ​house,​ ​the​ ​guidelines​ ​do​ ​not​ ​apply,​ ​and​ ​no​ ​fees​ ​or​ ​applications​ ​for​ ​a Certificate​ ​of​ ​Appropriateness​ ​(permit)​ ​are​ ​required.​ 

What are some examples of projects that do not have to be approved?

Certificates​ ​of​ ​Appropriateness​ ​are​ ​only​ ​required​ ​for​ ​the​ ​improvements​ ​described​ ​in​ ​these​ ​guidelines.​ ​All​ ​other improvements​ ​not​ ​covered​ ​by​ ​these​ ​guidelines,​ ​including,​ ​but​ ​not​ ​limited​ ​to:​ ​change​ ​of​ ​paint​ ​color,​ ​installation​ ​of​ ​solar panels​ ​and​ ​roof,​ ​window​ ​and​ ​door​ ​replacements,​ ​shall​ ​not​ ​require​ ​a​ ​Certificate​ ​of​ ​Appropriateness.

What​ ​is​ ​the​ ​process​ ​for​ ​obtaining​ ​a​ ​Certificate​ ​of​ ​Appropriateness?

First,​ ​a​ ​homeowner​ ​consults​ ​the​ ​guidelines.​ ​If​ ​the​ ​proposed​ ​activity​ ​does​ ​not​ ​fall​ ​within​ ​the​ ​guidelines,​ ​no​ ​certificate​ ​is needed​ ​and​ ​no​ ​fee​ ​is​ ​paid.​ ​If​ ​the​ ​activity​ ​does​ ​fall​ ​under​ ​a​ ​proposed​ ​guideline,​ ​the​ ​homeowner​ ​reaches​ ​out​ ​to​ ​the​ ​Office of​ ​Planning​ ​and​ ​Development,​ ​which​ ​decides​ ​whether​ ​the​ ​proposed​ ​activity​ ​is​ ​exempt​ ​or​ ​needs​ ​a​ ​Certificate​ ​of Appropriateness.

If​ ​OPD​ ​decides​ ​the​ ​proposed​ ​activity​ ​is​ ​exempt,​ ​there​ ​is​ ​NO​ ​application​ ​and​ ​NO​ ​fee.​ ​OPD​ ​may​ ​be​ ​able​ ​to​ ​decide​ ​during the​ ​phone​ ​call,​ ​from​ ​email,​ ​or​ ​meeting.​ ​Otherwise,​ ​OPD​ ​will​ ​usually​ ​notify​ ​the​ ​owner/etc.​ ​in​ ​less​ ​than​ ​a​ ​week.​ ​If​ ​OPD decides​ ​the​ ​proposed​ ​activity​ ​does​ ​fall​ ​under​ ​the​ ​guidelines,​ ​the​ ​application​ ​and​ ​fee​ ​schedule​ ​on​ ​the​ ​Explanation​ ​of​ ​Fees chart​ ​apply.​ ​​​These​ ​applications​ ​are​ ​reviewed​ ​by​ ​MLC​ ​and​ ​review​ ​takes​ ​about​ ​a​ ​month.​ ​A​ ​schedule​ ​of​ ​fees​ ​can​ ​be​ ​found online​ ​from​ ​the​ ​Memphis​ ​Landmarks​ ​Commission​ ​and​ ​will​ ​vary​ ​depending​ ​on​ ​the​ ​type​ ​of​ ​work.​ ​These​ ​fees​ ​are​ ​minimal and​ ​range​ ​from​ ​$25​ ​to​ ​$250.

Who are key contacts at the OPD office?

Where can I nerd out on all the guidelines and read more specifics?

Just click this link!

Contact the CYCA by calling 901-272-2922 or email us at

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