What Is the Historic District Commission or Historic Property Commission
Local Historic District Commissions (HDC) and Historic Property Commissions (HPC) are units of local government, also known as public bodies. They are established through a local legislative process, which is described at length in Part One of the Handbook.
HDCs and HPCs are charged with serving the general welfare through the protection and preservation of the historic resources within their jurisdiction. Specifically, they have the legal authority to review and determine the appropriateness of any changes to those parts of the exterior of a building within the district that are visible from a public place or way, as well as the appearance of new buildings erected in the designated district.
Property owners in the LHD or LHP are subject to the historic property designation, andmust apply to the HDC or HPC for a certificate of appropriateness before making any alterations that would affect the exterior of the building or structure and before constructing or demolishing a building or structure. In reviewing the application, the HDC or HPC must consider whether the proposed alterations are “not incongruous” with the historic character of the property and/or the district as a whole, then vote accordingly to approve or deny the application. Without a certificate of appropriateness property owners may not begin exterior work on the property or receive a building permit.