Any individual or group may nominate a building or a place for designation as a local historic structure, local historic site, or local historic district. The Commission reviews the nominations and makes a recommendation to the City Council that a structure or site should be designated as a “local landmark” or “local historic district.” The Council then acts upon the Commission’s recommendation.
Once the local historic structure, local historic site, or local historic district has been approved by the City Council, the structure, site, or district is under the protection of Stoughton's Historic Preservation Ordinance, and no changes which require a building permit may be made to the exterior unless the owner first obtains a "Certificate of Appropriateness" (COA) from the Commission. This certificate is the Commission's written affirmation that a proposed change is sympathetic to the historic character of the property and is consistent with the intent of the ordinance. When a building permit is requested, the building inspector will check to see if the property in question is a locally designated landmark or is located within a locally designated historic district. If it is, the applicant is required to obtain a COA.