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Frequently Asked Questions about Local Historic Districts

Below are some of the most common questions asked about Local Historic Districts. Don't see your question below? Ask us!

Do all changes require review?

The PHDC only reviews changes which affect the exterior of a property or its setting. Since ordinary repairs and replacement of features can affect exterior appearance, these actions are also subject to review. Interior alterations are not reviewed; nonetheless, be aware of interior changes which have exterior impacts, such as room renovations which require closing-up an existing window or cutting a new door.

 168 Governor
Charles H. Warren House (1898). Architects Stone, Carpenter & Willson.

Will I be told what color to paint my house?

NO! Paint color, which does not change the inherent integrity of a structure, is exempt from review. However, paint removal methods, the painting of previously unpainted surfaces, and any repairs needed before repainting are all subject to review. Advice on appropriate paint colors and surface preparation is available on request from the PHDC staff.

The PHDC does review sign colors and colors integral to a material, such as the color of roof shingles.

141 Waterman
Horatio N. Campbell House (1877). Architect William R. Walker.

What about exterior siding?

Installation of vinyl, aluminum or other modern composition sidings can substantially alter the appearance of wood clapboards and shingles and can obliterate details such as window and door surrounds, brackets, moldings, and other elements. Artificial sidings are not appropriate on historic buildings. In addition, sandblasting is extremely damaging to wood and brick surfaces and will not be approved.

20 Cooke Street
Shubael Blanding House (1823).

Can windows be replaced?

Usually, original window sash can be repaired and retained. If not, the replacement should match the historic sash in size, operation, materials, configuration, number of lights (panes), muntin detail, and profile. Window manufacturers today offer a wide variety of factory-made windows appropriate for installation in historic buildings. Generally, aluminum and vinyl windows are not appropriate replacements for historic wood sash.

For a more detailed list of questions in PDF form, click on the link below:

Frequently Asked Questions of Local Historic Districts (pdf)

Check out a handy infographic about the study area and the Historic District Commission below:

PPS Infographic 2
Credit: Jing Wu