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Application Process and Commission Members



The Commission reviews applications for changes to the exteriors of buildings in historic districts, the addition of new buildings and changes to the site and landscape. Not all changes require Commission review; consult the Coordinator at 734.794.6265 x 42608, or email to determine whether a proposed change will require review. Applications for Commission review are available from the link below or from the Coordinator on the sixth floor of City Hall, Planning and Development Services Division. If you need additional information, please contact the Administrative Support Specialist to the Commission via email at: or 734.794.6000 x 42665.

  • Completed applications must be submitted to the Coordinator by 4:30 pm on the deadline date shown on the meeting schedule in order to allow staff time to review the application and notify the public. All attachments, including drawings, materials information, narratives, photos, etc. and application fees must be included with the application. Incomplete applications will not be accepted or will be postponed to a later meeting date.

  • The Commission meets on the second Thursday of each month at 7:00 PM in City Council Chambers, Second Floor, City Hall. Exceptions are made for major holidays and are noted on the corresponding meeting schedule.  

  • Fee Schedule (pdf) - Please use the payment cover sheet if you are submitting an application by mail or submitting payment separate from an application.       
  • Application for Historic Plaque (pdf) - For those interested in purchasing a Historic Plaque for your property, click on this link and download the application for HDC approval before purchase.  

Who should apply?

Owners, residents, contractors, and tenants who are considering alterations to a building that is in a historic district should contact Jill Thacher, who is generally in the office Monday through Friday, 8 AM to 5 PM, to determine if the proposed work will require the prior approval of the Commission.

Staff report

If Commission approval is required, staff will prepare a staff report for all applications that are complete and submitted by the deadline. On the Friday before the meeting, copies of the staff report and the agenda will be emailed to all owners and applicants that provide one or more email addresses on their application.

Review committee

The Monday before the meeting, Commission staff and at least two Commissioners will meet with you at the project site. This will be your opportunity to explain your case in person and on location. Staff will take photos and post a Public Hearing Notice on the site that is visible from the street.

The Commission meeting

Hearings occur early in the agenda, following introductions and approval of the agenda. Applicants or their representatives are strongly urged to attend, both to present their information and to answer any questions that may arise.


  1. STAFF PRESENTATION – Includes brief description of the property’s location, historic district and history, including any significant changes to the original configuration, a summary of the application and any findings of fact.
  1. REVIEW COMMITTEE – Report and recommendation.
  1. APPLICANT PRESENTATION – Applicants are encouraged to testify on their own behalf and may bring such witnesses as may be necessary.
  1. AUDIENCE PARTICIPATION – Restricted to current case ONLY – 3 Minutes
  1. CLOSING OF THE HEARING – Followed by Commission discussion and action. Audience members may not speak unless rested by the Commission.  Action may include discussion followed by a motion, more discussion and a vote.


The applicant, owner and the Building Department will be notified of the Commission's determination within five business days. After that, you or your contractor may apply for the required building permits for your project from the Planning and Development Services Division.

Please remember: you or your contractor are responsible for obtaining building permits and for scheduling inspections. Any changes from the approved plans should be reported to Commission staff immediately. Failure to comply with the Historic District regulations may result in a fine and/or the owner being required to restore the property to its prior condition.


as of December, 2013

The Historic District Commission is a body appointed by the Mayor and City Council, per the mandates of Public Act 169, Michigan's Enabling Legislation regarding local historic districts. The Historic District Commission is made up of 7 members, each one knowledgeable about preservation practices, whether they are professionally engaged as preservationists or not. Each Commissioner is appointed to one three-year term and can serve two consecutive terms before he/she is replaced. Anyone interested in serving on the Historic District Commission should contact the Mayor's Office to obtain an application. Anyone interested in contacting Commissioners should call Mia Gale at 734.794.6000, x 42665 or email

John Beeson: John Beeson is an architect who currently works at the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) in Washington, DC as a LEED Certification Reviewer. He came into the profession of architecture and love of historic buildings in an unconventional way, starting with majoring in Physics from Middlebury College in Vermont. While seeded early in high school, environmental stewardship became a large part of his life.  After a brief teaching career and an underlying search for applying his commitment to the environment with the greatest worldwide impact, John ended up in architecture in Baltimore, MD and a little later, in Washington, DC where the intimacies of older buildings began to align with environmental trends. It was then that the effect of architecture on the environment came roaring into view. As the house he and his family occupy was the recipient of a 2009 Rehabilitation Award from the Ann Arbor Historic District Commission, John has worked on a multitude of projects around the city while at the employ of various local architecture firms. His first term expires on November 21, 2014.

Ben Bushkuhl (Secretary): Mr. Bushkuhl is a lifelong Ann Arbor resident with experience in commercial construction, residential remodeling, and carpentry. He has served as a contractor and project manager for multiple construction projects in historic buildings at the University of Michigan. He holds Bachelor and Master of Science degrees from Eastern Michigan University in Construction management. His first term expires December 6, 2013.

Patrick McCauley (Chair): Mr. McCauley is an Ann Arbor resident who is a home restoration specialist and painter by trade. He has over twenty years of experience working on older and historic homes and buildings. He was the recipient of a 2008 Rehabilitation Award from the Ann Arbor Historic District Commission, as well as a volunteer for the city's historic Kempf House Museum from 1999 to present and the Cobblestone Farm Museum from 1999-2002. He holds a Bachelor of History degree from the University of Michigan. His second term expires February 2, 2015.

Ellen Ramsburgh: Ms. Ramsburgh previously served on the Washtenaw-Hill Expansion Historic Distruct Study Committee and lives in a historic residence in Ann Arbor. Her second term expires April 4, 2014.

Jennifer Ross: Jennifer Ross, a recent transplant to Ann Arbor, is an Architectural Historian with over 13 years of experience in the fields of Historic Preservation and Cultural Resource Management. She currently serves as a staff Architectural Historian for the Detroit Historic District Commission. Ms. Ross holds a Bachelor of Arts in Anthropology and a Master of Science in Architecture with an Historic Preservation emphasis. Her first term expires February 21, 2015.

Tom Stulberg (Vice-Chair): His first term expires June 21, 2016.

Robert White:  Mr. White is a long time resident of Ann Arbor and is also a member of the city's Board of Review. His third term on the commission expires June 6, 2014.


adopted 12/12/91

The mission of the Ann Arbor Historic District Commission is to encourage the preservation of the heritage and built environment of the City of Ann Arbor for the use and enjoyment of present and future generations through the following:

  • fostering an appreciation of our heritage,
  • educating its citizens on the value of the built environment,
  • serving as the historic conscience of the community,
  • encouraging the designation of historic districts,
  • reviewing and acting upon proposed changes to designated properties
  • providing liaison to and communication among organizations that affect local history and preservation.

Last Updated:  January 22, 2014



Planning & Development Services

301 E. Huron

Ann Arbor, MI



Historic Preservation Coordinator
Jill Thacher

734.794.6265 x 42608

Administrative Assistant to the HDC
Mia Gale
734.794.6265 x 42665

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