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Historic District Commission

Phone:
x
Fax:
Email:
Primary Contact:
Mary Elizabeth Taylor, Chairman
Durham
,
CT
06422
Hours:

About Historic District Commission

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. 

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. 

Duties:

  • 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 
  • Review and approve Application for Certificate of Appropriateness (APCOA) for any building, structure i.e. detached auxiliary building, sign, fence, wall, above-ground utility structure, swimming pool, or external lighting for same, or parking area to be erected, altered, restored, removed or demolished within the District. 
  • Issue Certificates of Appropriateness (COA)
  • Hold public hearings for each APCOA  prior to deliberation by the Commission. 
  •  Consider the exterior architectural features open to view from the public street, way or place; not any interior arrangement, usage, or the color of exterior paint
  •  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. 

Meetings & Events

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Recently Held
Jun 3, 2024
Historic District Commission Meeting
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May 6, 2024
Historic District Commission Meeting
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Dec 4, 2023
Historic District Commission Meeting
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Nov 6, 2023
Historic District Commission Meeting
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Oct 16, 2023
Historic District Commission Meeting
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Latest News

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FAQs

What if I want to replace a material with the same material? Do I need permission?

No, as long as you are replacing like for like (including cedar clapboard for cedar clapboard or asphalt shingle for asphalt shingle), you don’t need our permission. Our objective is to maintain or improve the historic appearance, so a like for like repair doesn’t require an APCOA. 

Are modern materials like manufactured wood allowed?

Yes! We understand that these buildings exist in the 21st century and support well-chosen materials, whether that means cedar or a newer technology. 

What is the process if I need to make changes to materials or appearance? How do I get approval?

Complete an Application for Certificate of Appropriateness and submit it to the Town Clerk's Office. They will forward your application to the Historic District Commission

Durham Historical Society vs Historic District Commission:

There is a difference! We are the Historic District Commission, the regulatory body obliged by state statute to preserve and protect the buildings and places of historic interest within the Town’s Historic District.The Historical Society is a separate group dedicated to the history of Durham.

Windows. Can I replace them?

Yes, we do frequently approve window replacements. Many of our buildings have replacement windows which need replacing, and some have original wood windows with extensive rot. If your windows do require attention, we do ask that replacements be as close in appearance to the original windows and that they include exterior grilles. Feel free to scroll through previous APCOAs to find windows which have met with approval.

Fences. Do I need approval?

Yes, all permanent structures need Historic District approval. After ensuring you meet Planning and Zoning requirements, you should bring your design plan to us in the form of an APCOA. We have approved wood, iron, and manufactured wood fences in the past. Take a walk up and down Main Street for ideas! One detail to note: the historic aesthetic necessitates erring toward matte finishes and away from high gloss finishes.

Contacts

The Historic District Commission has vacant seat(s).
Interested in volunteering? See all the vacancies.

Staff

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Members

Three members appointed by Board of Selectmen to five year terms. Must be residents of the Durham Historic District. Four members constitutes a quorum.
Mary Elizabeth Taylor
Democrat
Republican
Ind
UNAffiliated
GREEN
Libertarian
Working Families
Chairman
Term:
Dec 2020
-
Dec 2025
Colleen Darnell
Democrat
Republican
Ind
UNAffiliated
GREEN
Libertarian
Working Families
Term:
Dec 2020
-
Dec 2025
Ryan Chabot
Democrat
Republican
Ind
UNAffiliated
GREEN
Libertarian
Working Families
Term:
Dec 2021
-
Dec 2026
Joyce Bray
Democrat
Republican
Ind
UNAffiliated
GREEN
Libertarian
Working Families
Term:
Dec 2019
-
Dec 2024
Diana McCain
Democrat
Republican
Ind
UNAffiliated
GREEN
Libertarian
Working Families
Vice Chairman
Term:
Dec 2023
-
Dec 2028

Alternate Members

Two alternates appointed by the Board of Selectmen to three year terms. Must be residents of the Durham Historic District.
Josh Eddinger
Democrat
Rep
Ind
UNAffiliated
GREEN
Libertarian
Working Families
Term:
Dec 2021
-
Dec 2024
Amy Royal
Democrat
Rep
Ind
UNAffiliated
GREEN
Libertarian
Working Families
Term:
Dec 2023
-
Dec 2026
Campbell Barrett
Democrat
Rep
Ind
UNAffiliated
GREEN
Libertarian
Working Families
Term:
Dec 2022
-
Dec 2025

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