Quite a bit of research, verification, and writing go into designating city properties as historic. The State requires a great deal of information and adherence to specific guidelines. (Consult the link to Local Historic Districts in Michigan manual for more information regarding everything that must go into the reports.) However, the HDSC cannot designate properties in Royal Oak as historic without owner permission. This is the first step. A property owner must first contact the HDSC and attend a meeting to request a study on the property, should they have a reasonable belief that their property meets a criterion/criteria for designation. The HDSC then conducts some research into the property to establish facts, and if enough is available, committee members visit the property to take measurements, photos, and observe documents or specific
features of the property. Research continues by the committee, who write a preliminary report following State guidelines. This preliminary report is sent to the State, City Planning Department, Mayor and City Commission. The State Historic Preservation Office must review the report (which could take six to eight weeks) and the HDSC must address any comments, and make additions or corrections before publishing the final report that is once again distributed to the State and City members. The Planning Department reads the report and meets with the HDSC to determine whether it recommends or disapproves of the study. If approved by the Planning Department, the report is forwarded to the City for their review at a City Commission meeting. When the City approves the historic designation, the property owner must be present at the meeting to verify their acceptance. Following this, the City Attorney prepares an ordinance regarding the property and the owner receives a copy of the final report for their records.