Local Historic Districts
The Local Historic District is a local planning tool that regulates changes to the built environment in areas of a community that retain a high degree of historic integrity.
Local Historic Districts (LHD) are often confused with National Register Historic Districts (NRHD), but the two are not the same. While both districts can exist in the same place with overlapping boundaries, they can also exist independently of one another. A LHD is a local zoning overlay, legally unrelated to the federally administered National Register. Establishing a local historic district follows a public process and requires a significant amount of time, advocacy, and determination to create.
Even if your house is in an LHD, you probably won’t have your paint colors regulated. While some districts do regulate paint color as an important part of the district’s character, the overwhelming majority do not. Since the regulations for each LHD are locally established, they can vary from community to community. Most districts have adopted design guidelines based on the Secretary of the Interior’s Standards for the Treatment of Historic Properties.
Local Historic Districts can accomplish a range of actions such as denying demolition, ensuring that additions and new construction are compatible with the size and scale of surrounding buildings, and sometimes regulating changes to exteriors. Protection is usually limited to what is visible from the public right-of-way, so does not include the rear of a property and almost never includes interiors.