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State of North Carolina Historic District Preservation Ordinances

Urban | Suburban | Rural
Under the enabling statutes found within Chapter 160A, Article 19, at Part 3C, both cities and counties (“municipalities”) have the authority to establish historic districts and designate landmarks as part of a zoning or other ordinance. § 160A-400.2, § 160A-400.4. “Such ordinances may treat historic districts as either a separate use district classification or as districts which overlay other zoning districts.” § 160A-400.4. Before a municipality can establish a historic district, it must appoint a historic preservation commission. § 160A-400.7. To designate a historic district, the commission must investigate and make a report on the significance of the buildings and area to be included in the district and submit this report to the Office of Archives and History for comments and recommendations by the State Historical Preservation Officer. § 160A-400.4(1),(2). Only after these steps have been taken may a municipality designate a historic district. § 160A-400.4. After such a designation, anyone wishing to make an exterior change or receive a building permit within the district must first apply for and obtain a certificate of appropriateness from the commission. § 160A-400.9. Appeals from a granting or denial of a certificate of appropriateness may be made to the Board of Adjustment. § 160A-400.9.