Frequently Asked Questions
1. What is the difference between a National Register District and a Local Historic District?
The National Register of Historic Places is the nation's official list of buildings, sites or areas worthy of preservation. Listing does not restrict what the property owner may do with the property unless the owner is using federal assistance.
A Local Historic District offers the most protection for significant historic and architectural buildings in Connecticut and allows municipalities to establish districts for which exterior architectural changes are reviewed by a local preservation commission. This allows towns to ensure that alterations, additions or demolitions are in keeping with special character of the designated district.
2. How do I find out if my property listed in a local historic district?
You can find out whether your property is listed in a local historic district by using the search engine. The search engine is very strict where you need the put the full street address of the property (no abbreviations like St, Rd, etc) and the town name. If the property is located in a LHD, the search engine result will display the result followed by the complete inventory of all the properties listed in the LHD. If the address is not found, the property may not be listed in a LHD but it is strongly recommended to verify the information with the respective district authority, the Town Hall or the State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO).
3. Is my property listed in a LHD eligible for historic home tax credits?
Yes, any property listed in a LHD is eligible for historic home tax credits provided it falls within one of the state's qualified demographic areas. Please refer to the State Historic Preservation Office for details on qualified municipalities and census tracts. For further information, please contact the State Historic Preservation Office Department of Economic and Community Development, Offices of Culture and Tourism.
4. Is my entire property listed in a LHD subject to regulation?
No, the entire property listed in a LHD may not be under regulation. The district boundaries are subject to set backs as described in the historic district ordinance. The maps shown in this website indicate the approximate boundary limits of the historic district and the user is urged to refer the original district maps attached with the district committee reports for further information.
5. My property is listed in a LHD. What changes and alterations are required to be reviewed by the LHD Commission?
Any physical alterations to the exterior of a structure, construction of a new structure or demolition of an existing structure that is visible from a public way in a LHD is to be approved by the respective district Commission. Typical work which requires review would be replacement of windows or doors, siding, the erection of additions, decks, garages, fences or outbuildings. Work that generally does not require review is ordinary maintenance or repair that does not involve the change of the exterior appearance. The LHD Commission also does not regulate any interior alterations nor use of the building. It is important to contact the respective district authority for the complete set of regulations and the procedures, often described in the district handbook.
When a property owner does propose an alteration which requires review, the owner submits an application to the Historic District Commission to obtain a Certificate of Appropriateness, the detailed procedures for which is available in the respective town websites.
6. My property is listed in a LHD but why is it not showing up in the search engine?
The search engine works only with the correctly spelled full address of the designated property and not with any street suffix abbreviations like St, Rd, N, S, others. It will also show negative results for properties which have been assigned new addresses after the LHD was established. The inventory of the designated properties in a LHD has been retrieved from the respective Study Committee report which may not be updated with any change in the property addresses initiated by the Town after its establishment. Also, larger lots or vacant plots of older districts may have been subdivided later into smaller plots resulting in new street addresses which were not incorporated in the original inventory. The information given in this website is only meant to be used as a guide. The user is strongly recommended to verify the information with the respective district authority.
7. My local historic district has few properties marked outside the district boundary. Why is this so?
These outliers may represent the rear parcels or properties subject to setbacks with minimal frontage to the main road as described in the district ordinance. Although visually these properties appear to be beyond the district boundary, they are technically within it and subject to regulation. Sometimes, the boundary of a LHD may have been altered with later addendums or expansions which are not incorporated in the original Study Committee Reports filed at SHPO. This can lead to discrepancies along the edges of the district and the user is strongly recommended to contact the respective district authority to verify the information.
In few cases, the street addresses may have been dislocated owing to typing error, geo-coding issues, change in addresses and other external reasons. We are sorry for this misinformation and are trying to update the database intermittently.
8. The aerial view of the LHD appears to include additional buildings not listed in the inventory. Are these buildings also subject to regulation?
Anything and everything within the boundary of the LHD as described in the district ordinance is subject to regulations. Vacant lots in few older districts may have been sub-divided into smaller plots with new constructions. Although these properties are not listed in the inventory, they may be under regulation and the user is urged to contact the respective district authority for verification.