Additions in a Historic District

Changes to properties located in historic districts are inevitable. The needs of today’s residents are different than those of the original homeowners. The Historic Preservation Board uses the Secretary of the Interior’s Standards for Rehabilitation, as well as, additional guidelines to review proposed additions.

All additions to structures within a historic district must be approved by the Historic Preservation Board.

Standards & Guidelines to consider when designing an addition in a Historic District

The Secretary of the Interior’s Standards for Rehabilitation address additions in Standards 2, 3, 9, and 10.

Standard 2 - Additions should not alter original distinguishing architectural features of the structure.

Standard 3 – Additions should not create a false sense of historical development, but should be recognized as a physical record of their time.

Standard 9 – Additions should be compatible with the structure’s massing, size, scale, and architectural features, yet be differentiated from the historic portion of the structure.

Standard 10 – Additions should be designed so that if removed in the future, the building will retain its historic integrity.

REMEMBER, AN ADDITION:
1. Should be compatible with the size, scale, and architectural features of the original structure.
2. Should be differentiated from the original structure.
3. Should not harm the integrity of the original structure.
4. Should (theoretically) be removable from the original structure.

RECOMMENDATIONS:
Keep additions to historic buildings and adjacent new construction to a minimum.

  • Design an addition so there is the least possible loss of historic materials and so the character defining features are not obscured, damaged, or destroyed.
  • Locate an addition at the rear or on an inconspicuous side of a historic building and limit its size and scale in relationship to the historic building.
  • Design additional stories that are set back from the wall plane and are as inconspicuous as possible when viewed from the street.
  • Design the addition so it is clearly differentiated from the historic structure. Offset the walls of the addition so they are not simply extensions of the existing walls.
  • Design the addition to be compatible in terms of mass, materials, relationship of solids to voids, etc.
  • Design the addition so it does not overwhelm the historic structure.
  • Make sure the addition is not so similar that it appears to be a part of the original structure.