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What is a Certificate of Appropriateness (COA)?
A Certificate of Appropriateness (COA) is the Historic District Commission (HDC) document attesting that specified work has been approved by the HDC.
A COA is required before most exterior work can begin, before a building permit can be issued, and before any variance of development standards, land use variance, or rezoning can be granted.
How is a COA granted?
Requests for COAs are reviewed by the HDC at a public hearing. If a project is deemed appropriate, the HDC grants the COA.
HDC review includes an assessment of the overall effect of any proposed alterations, constructions, relocations, removals or demolitions upon the character-defining exterior architectural features, historic value, and significance of landmarks or districts in which the subject property is located.
When is a COA required?
Activities that do not require a COA:
- Interior projects (provided they do not result in exterior changes)
- Routine maintenance or repair to exterior features (provided there is no change in material or design)
- Ordinary landscaping, including the establishment of gardens, planting of trees, shrubs, flowers, etc.
- Identical replacement (color, style, etc) of modern asphalt roof coverings
Examples of activities that require HDC approval (by issuance of a COA) prior to undertaking any work:
- Changes in style, material or configuration of existing siding, windows, doors or any other exterior architectural features
- Construction of additions to an existing building
- Construction of new buildings or other structures
- Demolition, removal or replacement of all or part of any building or structure
- Replacement of roof coverings (other than above)
- Installation of exterior mechanical equipment
- Construction of exterior site features fixed in the ground (walls, pergolas, swimming pools, for example)
- Installation of new (or replacement of existing) signs
- Replacement or installation of gutters and downspouts
- Installation of canvas awnings on doors, windows and porches
- Modifications to HDC-approved plans
- Extension of an unexpired Certificate of Appropriateness