Making Changes to Your Home

house undergoing renovation

Most changes to the exterior of homes and other buildings in College Hill require a Certificate of Appropriateness before work can begin. Changes must comply with the city’s Historic District Manual and Design Guidelines. The city historic preservation staff can approve small-scale and routine projects; approval from the Historic Preservation Commission is required for bigger projects. It meets on the last Wednesday of each month.

The historic district manual can answer most questions. The staff of the Historic District Program, Mike Cowhig and Stefan-Leih Geary, can answer the rest.

Projects requiring prior approval include placement of satellite dishes, replacement of windows, adding or expanding parking areas and walkways, and cutting down trees of at least 4 inches in diameter at breast height.

Projects that do not require approval include interior renovations, exterior paint colors, and repairs in which there is no change in materials or design.

To maintain the historic character of College Hill and Greensboro’s two other historic districts, the guidelines rule out some relatively modern exterior renovations that are taken for granted in other neighborhoods. For example, the replacement of wood siding or exterior doors with aluminum or vinyl is considered inappropriate for homes in the historic districts. In addition, the division of single-family houses into apartments is not allowed.

For matters not relating to the historic character of houses, homes in College Hill and the city’s two other historic districts are under all the same regulations as homes in the rest of the city. For example, no more than four unrelated individuals can occupy a single residential unit, and parking is prohibited in front yards.