Mike Terry, Deseret News
The historic Davis County Courthouse in Farmington was built in three phases.

FARMINGTON — The Davis County Memorial Courthouse has received its first nod of approval toward designation as a historic landmark.

The federal-style courthouse at 28 E. State was built in three phases. The first phase was completed in 1932, and others were completed in 1957 and 1979, with renovations in 1997.

On Wednesday, the Farmington City Historic Preservation Commission voted to recommend placement of the courthouse on the city's historic landmark register. The Farmington City Council has the final say over such designations.

If approved, the courthouse would be the second such designation in Farmington, after the Clark Lane Historic District, said Alysa Revel, chairwoman of the preservation commission.

On March 10, the preservation commission wrote to Davis County commissioners to inform them the courthouse was nominated to be included on the city's Historic Landmarks Register.

Davis County commissioners approved a letter to the city's commission, stating that they agree the courthouse has historic significance, but only the northernmost portion of the building. Commissioners had been concerned they could lose the leeway to make changes to the building if it were listed as a historic landmark.

Davis County officials are designing a new county administration building to house nearly all of the county offices located in the courthouse.

Commissioners say they aren't sure what will be done with the county courthouse. There's a possibility the county could raze the two newer additions to the building or make other renovations, including a seismic upgrade, if needed.

The preservation commission agreed with that sentiment during Wednesday night's meeting.

"If future needs mean the additions need to be pulled off, that's a perfectly acceptable way to do historic remodels," Revel said.

Historic preservation commissioners also were concerned that the city's historic buildings ordinance doesn't distinguish between interiors and exteriors of historical buildings. It is unknown what the interior of the building historically looked like, the letter states, and because a seismic upgrade could alter the current interior, they requested flexibility on remodeling the interior.

But interior use is left up to property owners, Revel said.

"This (ordinance) is more about keeping a streetscape, with keeping buildings' exteriors appropriate and historical," she said.

More than 20 homes and buildings in Farmington are currently on the National Register of Historic Places.

Davis County Commissioner Bret Millburn and the county's planning director, Barry Burton, said they felt their concerns were answered and alleviated.

And they learned something, too. The area currently serving as a parking lot used to be burial plots for Farmington families. It's an area that may be checked for artifacts when the parking lot is altered.

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