Alterations to Properties in Historic Districts

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The Historic Preservation Commission (HPC) does not require property owners to make changes to their buildings, but it is responsible for reviewing changes that are proposed by property owners. This ensures that exterior alterations enhance the historic assets that make a property and district significant.

The Local Historic District protects assets by establishing a review process known as a Certificate of Appropriateness (COA) to ensure that proposed work is compatible with the nature of the property and the character of the surrounding properties in the historic district.

Plans for exterior alterations, new construction, demolitions, and alterations to landscape features within the Wilson Local Historic District must be reviewed and approved by the HPC or Preservation Planner prior to any work beginning.

The only exception to the requirements for the COA is for ordinary maintenance and repair of any of the existing features of a structure or building that does not involve a change in design, materials or the outward appearance.


The COA Application Process

Applications for proposed work must be filed with the Preservation Planner in the Planning Department located at City Hall. Applications are reviewed by the Preservation Planner and, if deemed complete, will be docketed for that month’s meeting. Minor alterations that do not substantially affect properties may be approved administratively by the Preservation Planner at their discretion. An application is still required for administrative approval.

Digital submissions are currently being accepted on a trial basis. Applicants can email their completed application packet in .pdf format or use Dropbox to send packets to An email confirmation will be sent to you.  If you do not receive a confirmation within 24 hours, please contact the Preservation Planner.

Incomplete applications will not be heard by the HPC and will be returned to the applicant. Applicants are encouraged to work with the Preservation Planner prior to submitting their application. HPC meetings are held on the first Wednesday of the month. Meetings are held in the City Hall Council Chamber, beginning at 5:30pm.

The process of review and approval by the HPC ensures that the historic character of Wilson’s Local Historic Districts are maintained. Increasingly, research shows that local historic districts stabilize and strengthen local economies by ensuring that alterations or new additions to the district are compatible with an area’s identified historic resources and character.


Certificate of Appropriateness Application 


Design Guidelines and Standards

The Wilson Historic Preservation Commission has adopted the Historic Property Owners Handbook for Local Historic Districts and Local Landmarks. This document and guidelines are based on the Secretary of the Interior Standards and Guidelines for Rehabilitating Historic Buildings.

The central focus is to provide guidance to those who intend to restore, rehabilitate and make changes to structures within the local historic districts. Further, the handbook provides valuable information and resources for anyone who is interested and/or wishes to participate in the preservation of Wilson’s architectural heritage.

The Preservation Planner can consult with applicants about proposed changes to a property.