Aurora is a historic river town that is situated 35 miles west of Cincinnati, Ohio, located in the Southeast corner of Indiana. Aurora was settled in the early 1800's and incorporated in 1845 and has strong historic connections to the Ohio River. Aurora is full of unique and historic buildings that preserve its older rivercity characteristics.

Historic District Map

Downtown Aurora Historic District Map.

Historic Preservation

Obtaining Certificate of Appropriation During COVID-19

The City continues to take precautions and follow all guidelines passed down from the State and Federal Government. During such time Building/Zoning Permits and Certificate of Appropriateness’s (COA) through the City’s Historic Preservation Commission (HPC) will still be required, however the process is modified slightly. If you are planning a project proceed as follows:

  • 1. Contact the HPC staff to see if your property is within the Historic Preservation District, see map Here, and if a Certificate of Appropriateness is required, by calling 812-926-0983 or by emailing Jarrad Holbroook
  • If it is determined that a Certificate of Appropriateness is required HPC staff will guide you through the process:

    Submit application via email to HPC staff or via mail along with $25 payment to:
    City of Aurora, PO Box 158, Aurora, IN 47001.
  • If the HPC will be required to meet and vote on your proposal, a video / phone conference will be arranged during regular scheduled meeting time, at which time you can further explain your project plans.
  • 2. During the Call the Dearborn County Planning and Zoning Department to arrange for obtaining a Zoning Permit (also known as a Location Improvement Permit) 812-537-8821.
  • 3. If required, call the Dearborn County BuildingDepartment to arrange for obtaining a Building Permit, 812-537-8822

What Is A Locally Designated
Historic District?

A local government in Indiana can adopt a historic preservation zoning ordinance that enables it to designate and protect properties of historical and architectural significance. Authority for such local legislation comes from state statute, often called an "enabling act". Indiana's enabling act was made law in 1967, under Indiana Code IC-36-7-11. Some forty cities, towns, and counties in Indiana have designated local historic districts and individual landmarks.

Indiana Landmarks Consultant

Jarrad Holbrook

					Preservation Commission Myths Busted logo.

MYTH: "The Historic Preservation Commission will tell me what color I can and cannot paint my home."

FALSE: Paint colors for a residential or commercial property aren’t determined by the HPC. The HPC will however discuss appropriate options and share recommendations. Common themes include the Painted Lady with a series of complementary colors to highlight different architectural elements of a facade.

MYTH: "All Certificate of Appropriateness applications are denied."

FALSE: The City of Aurora has specific Ordinance provisions set in place to preserve the historic ambiance of the Historic District. Typically Certificate of Appropriateness applications for revieware approved. Many have ability for staff approval without HPC review. The HPC doesn’t have the authority to override an Unsafe Building Order thru Code Enforcement nor the need for a Zoning Variance request process thru the Board of Zoning Appeals.

MYTH: "The Historic Preservation Commission won’t allow me to make my property more energy efficient."

FALSE: Energy efficient building materials vs preservation options are considered with each site. A common misconception would be that wood windows are inefficient as compared to vinyl. Both have been approved as COA’s. Energy efficient options include interior storm windows, identifying appropriate seals are in place or repair of window by qualified restoration specialist.

MYTH: "The Historic Preservation Commission doesn’t do anything for me."

MYTH BUSTED: The goal of the HPC, assisted by Indiana Landmarks, is to help Aurora retain our unique river heritage, celebrate and recognize relevant historic properties within the Historic District, as well as, offer guidance to property owners with preservation efforts within City Ordinance guidelines. See attached Certificate of Appropriateness Step by Step Process Checklist. Studies show the economic benefit to living in a historic district lead to higher property values. City leaders, the Aurora Redevelopment Commission, Code Enforcement, the Planning Commission and the HPC provide a strategic partnership towards these goals.

MYTH: "Members of the HPC can be cast in a negative light."

TRUE: However, the reality is quite the opposite. Appointed by the Mayor, each member of the HPC has extensive experience in property restoration, has lived in the Historic District or within the City limits and is dedicated to finding appropriate solutions for property improvements for residential and commercial property owners. HPC success stories listed within are an evident testament to enhanced property preservation, pride, and significance of community partnership with the Aurora Historic Preservation Commission.

Easy Step-by-Step Guide

  1. Property owner confirms that the concerned property is within the local historic district.
  2. If it is, property owner downloads COA application from the City of Aurora’s website or picks up a copy at City Hall.
  3. (optional but highly recommended) Property owner contacts HPC Staff for consultation and site visit prior to completing the COA application form.
  4. Completed COA applications along with $25 application fee must be submitted to the Clerk’s office at City Hall by 5 p.m. on the last Monday of each month in order to be added to that month’s HPC agenda. No late applications will be accommodated.
  5. Staff prepares a report based upon existing conditions, best practices, and city ordinance.
  6. At City Hall on the second Monday of the month at 6 p.m. the HPC conducts reviews of submitted COA applications. At this review COA applications will be Approved, Approved with Conditions, or Denied.

Success Stories

  • Adam Geyer Home.

    Adam Geyer, 408 Bridgeway St.

  • Sherry & Robert Love Home.

    Sherry & Robert Love, 313 4th St.

  • Mark & Leslie Thompson Home.

    Mark & Leslie Thompson, 438 2nd St.

  • Tim Miller (Gulf Gas Station).

    Tim Miller (Gulf Gas Station) restoration, 225 Main St.

  • Denmure and Moore Law Office.

    Denmure and Moore, 2nd and Mechanic St.

  • Weber Sports Store.

    Weber Sports Store, 238 Main St.

  • Guinevere Emery Home.

    Guinevere Emery, 301 4th St.

  • Tiffany's in Aurora, Indiana.

    Tim Miller (Tiffany's), 211 2nd St.

Sign Grant Success Stories

  • Stinky's Stitchin', Third St.

    Stinky's Stitchin', Third St.

Preservation Award Winners

Benefits of Establishing
a Local Historic District

Just as there is more involved in establishing a Local Historic District than slapping on a new coat of paint to the side of a building and replacing a few windows, preserving a historic district isn't simply about protecting something old. While most people don't see beyond the revamped facades of the once dilapidated structures, there are a number of hidden benefits to historic districts that are attractive to both investors and the community at large.

Click the button below to discover some solid benefits that can be realized by establishing a Local Historic District.