Department of Planning and Development
Historic Preservation
Design Guidelines
The Process for Obtaining a Certificate of Historic District Appropriateness

A Certificate of Historic District Appropriateness must be obtained from the Historic Preservation Commission before any exterior feature of a building or property may be erected, altered, repaired, restored, or removed. More specifically, exterior features refer to elements of architectural style, general design, general arrangement of the exterior of a building or other manmade structures, including construction material, size and scale of structure, type and style of all window and door elements, light fixtures, signs, landscape features, and other appurtenant features.

The process for obtaining a Certificate of Historic District Appropriateness begins by contacting the City of Washington. City offices are located at 102 E. Second Street. The phone number is (252) 946-1033. The appropriate staff person will listen to an applicant's proposed project and then advise the applicant which avenue to pursue. The staff person will provide a copy of the historic district's design guidelines and specify which guidelines apply to the proposed project.

See Section 9: Administrative Approvals - Minor Works

If a presentation before the Historic Preservation Commission (HPC) is required, the following steps can and may be taken.

The applicant may request an informal design review from the HPC. This allows the applicant to present a proposal and receive comments from commissioners in an informal manner. Hopefully, this will provide a more positive relationship for the commissioners and applicants and allow applicants to receive valuable feedback.

Upon submission of an application, the staff person will issue staff comments on each proposal submitted. The deadline for submission is the third (3rd) Monday of the month before the desired meeting date. For example, the March meeting deadline is the third Monday in February.

Instructions for completing an application accompany the application itself. The application may be obtained by contacting the City of Washington. The phone number is (252) 946-1033.

When the propose project is presented to the HPC by the applicant, comments from the public will also be heard. Upon reaching a decision, the applicant then receives correspondence including minutes from the meeting and an explanation for the commission's decision, whether approval or denial. At this point the applicant may apply for a building permit if necessary.

If a proposal is denied, an appeal may be made to the Board of Adjustment, or another application may be submitted.

For more information regarding this process, please contact the City of Washington, phone (252) 946-1033.

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