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Historic Preservation

Washington's Historic District "Guidelines for Property Owners"

Part 5: Guidelines for Common Building and Renovation Projects

Roof Replacements. Maintain existing roofing material whenever possible. Replace deteriorated roof covering with new materials that match the existing in composition, size, shape, color, and texture.

Fences. Use traditional fencing materials made of wood, stone, and iron in the Historic District. Streetfront fences may not be more than three (3) feet high. Vertical wooden privacy fences seven (7) feet high or less are permitted in rear and side yards.

Awnings. Commercial or residential awnings should be made of either canvas, vinyl-coated canvas, or acrylic. Awnings should not be used where there is evidence of previous use of shutters.

Minor Repairs. Nothing in the Historic District Guidelines prevents ordinary maintenance or repair of buildings and property as long as work does not involve a change in design, materials, or outer appearance. Some minor repairs, such as fence repairs, awnings installation, and landscaping projects may require a minor works COA. More substantial projects, such as additions or changing doors or windows, will require a COA review before the Historic Preservation Commission. Property owners should consult with the City's Department of Planning and Development at (252) 975-9384 prior to beginning work to determine the need for a COA.

New construction. New buildings in the Historic District should respect the character of historic buildings without copying them. New construction projects will be reviewed by the Historic Preservation Commission to evaluate compatibility with surrounding structures.

Windows and doors. Repair of existing windows and doors is usually recommended over replacement. If replacement is allowed, the new window or door should match the old as closely as possible.

Exterior wall materials. When siding cannot be repaired, it should be replaced with the same type of siding. Artificial sidings, such as vinyl, aluminum, or masonite, are not allowed unless already existing on a building. Brick which has previously been painted may be repainted; however, sandblasting is prohibited.

Signs. The Historic District Guidelines contain requirements for the number, size, location and color of signs. Please contact the Department of Planning and Development prior to placing or painting a sign on a building or window, including interior windows.

Demolition. The Historic Preservation Commission may not deny a COA request for a demolition but may delay the demolition for up to 365 days. During the delay, the Commission may work with the property owner to attempt to save the structure.

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