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Historic District Commission


Meeting Schedule: 2021 Revised Meeting Date Schedule

Historic District Walking Tour

Historic District Booklet/Report (file is large, may take a few seconds to download) 

Historic District Map


Agendas and Minutes:


Listing files in 'Historic District Commission'






APCOA Application Process:


Pre-application Conference

In the interest of facilitating the process for property owners, prospective applicants are invited to confer with the Commission as a body prior to submission of a formal application for a Certificate of Appropriateness.   Such meetings are informal in nature, and are limited to clarifying the Commission's authority under existing statute and ordinance, its rules and procedures, an its formally adopted design guidelines, if any.  No action may be taken at the preapplication stage. 
APCOAS are not required for maintenance or repair work which does not involve a change of existing design, exterior materials, outward appearance or the installation of temporary signs permitted by the Durham Zoning Regulations.


Application Process

An APCOA  must be submitted to the Commission Chairman at least fifteen days prior to the date of the next regularly scheduled meeting to allow publication of the Legal Notice for a Public Hearing.  Applications must be accompanied by drawings, showing the nature of the work to be performed as well as a list of materials to be used.  APCOA  forms are available in the Town Hall at the Town Clerk's Office.  Completed applications should be delivered to the Town Clerk's office, or mailed to Chairman, Historic District Commission, P.O. Box 428, Durham, CT 06422. If you have a question concerning whether an APCOA is required, contact the Commission Chairman.Forms and APCOA Application: Letter from the ChairmanAPCOA Application


Current Board Members:

In District:
Duncan Milne, D, 2021
Mary Elizabeth Taylor, U, 2025, Chairman
Colleen Darnell, R, 2025

Out of District:
Diana McCain, D, Vice Chairman, 2023
Joyce Bray, D, 2024

Mark Howard, D, 2021, in district
Ona McLaughlin, D, 2024, in district
George (Chip) Williams, R, 2025, out of district

Constitution of Board/Quorum:

All appointments shall be made by the board of selectmen and shall be for a term of five (5) years each except that an appointment to fill an unexpired term shall be for the duration of such unexpired term only. At all times at least three (3) members and two (2) alternate members of the commission shall be residents within the Durham Historic District. Members and alternate members shall be electors of the town holding no salaried town office. 5 members, and 3 alternates   Members and alternate members must be electors of the Town of Durham.  The members elect a chairman, vice-chairman and clerk. The presence of four members constitutes a quorum.

Term of Office:

5 years, except that an appointment to fill an unexpired term will end when that term expires. Alternates are elected to 3-year terms 

Appointing Authority:

Members are appointed by the Board of Selectmen.


On June 25, 1973, voters of the town of Durham adopted the Durham Town Ordinance creating a Historic District and Historic District Commission.  The Board's authority is also derived from Section 7 – 147a  - 7-1471 inclusive of the General Statutes of the State of Connecticut and Public Act 430, and Section 6-20 of the Town Charter.

Powers and

To promote the educational, cultural, economic and general welfare of the Town of Durham and others through the preservation and protection of buildings and places of historic interest and through the development of appropriate settings for such buildings and places in accordance with Section 7-147a – 7-1471 inclusive of the General Statutes of the State of Connecticut, Public Act 430 and the Town Ordinance.

The Commission's powers basically are as follows: no building, structure i.e. detached auxiliary building, sign, fence, wall, above-ground utility structure, swimming pool, or external lighting for same, or parking area shall be erected, altered, restored, removed or demolished with the District until after an Application for Certificate of Appropriateness (APCOA) has been submitted to the Commission and approved. Such approval will be made known by the issuance of a Certificate of Appropriateness (COA) by the Commission. Each APCOA shall have a Public Hearing prior to deliberation by the Commission. The Commission cannot consider interior arrangement, usage, or the color of exterior paint.  

In its deliberations the Commission will consider the exterior architectural features open to view from the public street, way or place. In passing on the appropriateness of external changes to a building or structure, the Commission will consider, in addition to any other pertinent factors, the historical and architectural value and significance, architectural style, general design, arrangement, texture and material of the architectural features involved (such as siding and roofing materials), and the relationship to other buildings or structures in the immediate neighborhood. The style, material and location of signs within the District must be approved by the Commission.


Printed Regulations:

Town Proceedings November 1969 to July 1973, General Statues of the State of Connecticut (1963 supplement) as amended.


On February 2, 1970 at a special town meeting, electors of the Town of Durham voted on the question "Are you in favor of adoption of an historic district ordinance as proposed and recommended in the final report submitted by the Durham Historic District Study Committee on January 26, 1970?" The electors failed to adopt the ordinance in 1970, and the new report came before them again in 1973. On May 14, 1973, at a Special Town Meeting, electors accepted the report of the Historic District Study Committee and enacted an ordinance to carry out the provisions of the State Legislature's enabling Acts in such matters. On June 25, 1973 the electors passed the Historic District Ordinance Referendum, which created a Historic District and a Historic District Commission for the Town of Durham effective July 17, 1973.