Oak Knoll, home of Frederick Miles (1900), Landowski Center LHD, Salisbury
Oak Knoll, home of Frederick Miles (1900), Landowski Center LHD, Salisbury

How is a Local Historic District established?

If you are interested in setting up a historic district, speak to a Preservation Connecticut Circuit Rider to see how to engage the local community, including municipal officials, in a conversation about feasibility and benefits. Under Connecticut General Statutes §7-147a-m, any interested group of citizens may request that an LHD Study Committee be appointed by the municipality to investigate the potential for a district and to prepare a document known as a Study Report.

The draft Study Report is submitted to the SHPO and the local planning and zoning authorities (or in their absence, to the chief elected official). That's when the timeline for approval officially begins. A simplified timeline, summarizing what happens after a report is submitted to the State Historic Preservation Office, can be found in the handbook. While a great deal of work will have taken place before this point, the initial research and preparation of the Study Report is not subject to any particular time constraint unless one is imposed by the local legislative body that appoints and authorizes the Study Committee.

The Study Report should contain:

  1. An analysis of the historical and architectural significance of the area.
  2. A general description of the area to be included.
  3. A map showing boundaries of the proposed LHD or LHP.
  4. A proposed ordinance.
  5. Such other matters as the Committee deems significant to include.
Sample Study Reports can be found on the Commission Resources page.

If two thirds of the property owners within the proposed district vote to approve it, it can go back to the municipality to enact the local ordinance.

The proposed ordinance in the Study Report is enacted and a Historic District Commission (HDC) of five regular and three alternate members is appointed by the municipal government. All properties within the boundary are subject to the ordinance. See this model preservation ordinance.