The City of Laurel is committed to its core value of community safety and is proactively taking steps to limit potential social spreading of COVID-19. To accommodate social distancing recommendations, we are offering many services remotely.
Anyone wishing to apply for a HDC approval with the City of Laurel must create an online account. Please visit our ePermits page for more information and to access the RAP permits Eportal to create your account. https://www.cityoflaurel.org/permits/permits/epermits
NEXT HISTORIC DISTRICT HEARING: FEBRUARY 16, 2021 AT 6:00 P.M. *VIRTUAL*
DEADLINE TO APPLY FOR THE NEXT HEARING: JANUARY 22, 2021 BY 5PM
Check below for the 2021 meeting dates.
ALL EXTERIOR WORK (seen from public right of way) DONE IN THE HISTORIC DISTRICT NEEDS APPROVAL
The City of Laurel Historic District Commission
(HDC) was established in 1975 to promote the preservation of Laurel's historic sites and buildings in order to safeguard the heritage of the City's built environment. The Commission's authority is derived from the Land Use Article of the Annotated Code of Maryland and Article I, Division 13 of the City of Laurel Unified Land Development Code. To that end, the Commission is empowered to hold public hearings for the purpose of reviewing architectural and design elements for buildings in the Historic District and granting certificates of approval in accordance with the City of Laurel Historic District Commission Design Guidelines (Art. I, Div. 14, City of Laurel Land Development Code).
The Historic District
The City of Laurel Historic District consists of seven individual but contiguous districts as established in Sec. 11-2 of the City of Laurel Municipal Code. Located in the northernmost part of the City, all of these districts fall under the design review authority of the Historic District Commission. Click here for a link to the Maryland Association of Historic Distric. There you can find helpful resources such as contractor information, design guidelines and much more! https://mahdc.org/
Historic District Survey
What is “contributing” or “non-contributing”?
Historic districts usually include a mix of “contributing” and “non-contributing” resources:
- Contributing resources are houses, churches, commercial structures or other buildings that add to the significance of the district.
- Non-contributing resources do not add to the significance of the district.
- Find out which one your house is on the following link: contributing_and_non_contributing_hdc_addresses.pdf
Here is a link to the Maryland's National Register Properties
Maryland Residential Property Disclosure Statement
What does having a property in the historic district mean for me as a property owner?
If you plan to make any exterior changes to your property, you will need to apply for a Certificate of Approval from the preservation commission. And, the proposed changes will need to comply with certain guidelines. Your rehabilitation project could be eligible for certain tax credits at a state level.
What is the role of the Historic District Commission members and staff?
The commission reviews plans for all exterior alterations to buildings in the historic district, including changes or additions to the rear of the property. If the plans are approved, then the applicant may apply for a building permit. The commission also sponsors historic site surveys and publications.
The staff reviews applications and advises the commission on matters related to zoning code and design guidelines. The staff also assists property owners in preparing their applications and administers the Certified Local Government program for the commission.
Any change to a structure located in the Historic District which is visible from a public right-of-way falls under the purview of the Historic District Commission's design review. This can range from something as simple as repainting a house, installing a fence, or replacing windows to complex projects such as residential additions, posting a sign on Main Street, or building demolitions. Proposed projects which the Commission deems as meeting the criteria of the Design Guidelines are issued a Certificate of Approval, indicating that work may proceed contingent on obtaining any necessary permits. Failure to obtain a Historic District Commission Certificate of Approval can lead to a referral to Code Enforcement Officers for issuance of a municipal infraction.
While certain projects may be approved by staff (i.e. "in-Kind" replacements), most must be presented before the Commission during a public hearing. A HDC Certificate of Approval Application must be submitted to the Department of Economic and Community Development for all proposed projects. In addition to the Application, supporting documents and/or items must be submitted which visually conveys: (1) the building or site as it presently exists and (2) as it will appear after the proposed changes. To get on the agenda for a Commission meeting for approval, you must meet the deadline (which is typically a month before). You can check with staff or the deadline dates listed in the link below. Even staff approvals will take 7-10 business days to process.
Additionally, if the work for an approved Historic District Commission Certificate has not commenced within twelve (12) months of the date of approval, the Certificate is void, unless a renewal is requested from the Historic District Commission.
Please be as detailed as possible on your application for the work description.
Must meet all setback and lot coverage requirements based on the property's zoning. If the addition increases the gross floor area of the residence by 50% or more, a Special Exception from the Planning Commission and Board of Appeals is required, click below for a chart of that process. Please contact staff for more information.
Although the Commission is the final determinant in the issuance of a HDC Certificate of Approval, their decision is rendered in the context of the Historic District Commission Design Guidelines, as listed in Art. I, Div. 14 of the Unified Land Development Code. These guidelines are intended to allow for variety of choice for individual projects yet still maintain the integrity of the Historic District as a whole.
Where can I find appropriate hardware and fixtures for my historic house?
- Two good sources for hardware fixtures, as well as a host of other products related to historic houses, are Old-House Journal and Traditional Building magazines. Both of these periodicals should be available at your local book store and/or library, and both maintain websites. Here are some helpful links as well:
- Maryland Historical Trust https://mht.maryland.gov/
- Historic Home Works http://historichomeworks.com/
Unified Land Development Code- Chapter 20- Land Development & Subdivision- Article I. Zoning- Division 13- Historic District Commission
Suggested Historic District Work:
Deteriorated siding material should be replaced with material used in original construction or use materials that can closely resemble the original appearance.
Repair and use original front door if you can. Any original hardware on the door should also be repaired and retained. If the door must be replaced, try to duplicate as closely as possible the size, color, proportion, shape and # of panels of the original front door.
First, check that the tree is seen from a public right-of-way, if it is not, you do not need HDC approval however, if it is you will need approval. Next, check the Champion Tree list to see if your tree is listed (those trees are more protected). If it is not and you have an arborist report stating the tree is dying, dead or diseased, fill out an application and provide to staff to approve the request (no night meeting required). If you cannot provide an arborist report you will need to fill out an application and attend a night meeting for approval through the Historic District Commission. If the tree is listed on the Champion Tree list you will need HDC approval through a night meeting, no exceptions! The Commission will typically sugguest a new tree is planted on the property, but not necessarily in the same spot where the tree is removed.
Windows are one of the most important character defining features of a historic structure. It is recommened that existing windows be retained and repaired rather than replaced. If windows are beyond repair, new placement windows should match the original size, color and style (to include grids).
The original roof shape must be preserved. Try to use original roof materials unless they are badly deteriorated. If you must replace the entire roof, it is suggested your new materials match color, style, texture of the original roof.
Shutters constructed of wood are preferable to other materials and should be replaced in kind. Any replacements should match original configuration and location.
When repairing porches, use as much of the original porch material as possible. If it must be replaced, the porch should be rebuilt to its original configuration.
Gutters and Downspouts
Replacements should duplicate the original design and material.
Link to the Prince George's County Rain Check Rebate Program https://cbtrust.org/grants/prince-georges-county-rain-check-rebate/
It is prefered that permeable paving is installed, however this is not mandatory.
See an example what to submit for a new commerical sign:
Need help choosing a font for your sign or awning in the Historic District? This link has some great ideas! https://www.fontspring.com/tag/historical
PreserveList Directory for Historic Buildings
Historic District Commission Tax Credit
The City of Laurel offers a tax credit for approved and qualifying EXTERIOR preservation and restoration projects located in the Historic District. Tax credits are for the materials of the work ONLY. Delivery and warranty fees are not included. The amount of the tax credit is ten percent (10%) of the total expense of the approved work, which must conform with the criteria as established by the HDC Certificate of Approval. A HDC Tax Credit Application must be obtained in order to receive a tax credit. For more information contact the Economic and Community Development Department.
An application for tax credit comes after HDC approval for the work. The owner must submit the receipts to the Secretary, along with forms affirming that the receipts are those for the actual expenditures. Once the work has been inspected and the receipts verified, the tax credit is submitted to the HDC for final approval. In cases where the owner provides labor, tax credits are based only on the cost of the materials used. The tax credit application must be submitted in a timely manner once the work is completed. Proof of payment includes: Front and back copies of checks, bank statements, credit card receipts, stamped paid invoices with company letterhead.
Please be advised that if you complete the work without approval, you automatically reduce your tax credit to 5% and could potentially be completely denied at the Historic District Commission's discretion.
***There is also a Tax Credit you can apply for through the State of Maryland, separate from the City of Laurel. For more information click below***
The Commission normally meets monthly at the Laurel Municipal Center located at 8103 Sandy Spring Road.
The Public is welcome and encouraged to attend.
Please check the deadline dates link below or with our staff, if you have a certificate application you would like to submit for the next Historic District Commission meeting.
What Do You Need To Apply? (depending on your scope of work, you will not need everything listed below)
- A completed and signed HDC Application
- Current photo or photos of the property
- Site plan of property (needed for driveways, fences, sheds, additions, etc.)
- Structural drawings (needed for new accessory structures such as sheds, garages, carports, porches, etc.
- Architectural drawings (typically needed for new buildings or additions)
- Photo of material samples (for replacement siding, paint, shutters, doors, roof shingles, wood, etc.)
- A completed window questionnaire (for replacement windows)
- A letter stating tree is dying or diseased from tree arborist (for tree removal)
- A sign rendering showing colors and size (for new SIGN requests from Commercial properties)
- Owner permission letter (if you are not the owner of the property)
* If you are unsure what you need to submit, please contact staff at 301-725-5300 Extension 2303.
Do you qualify for a Staff Approval?
The work you propose will be considered "in-kind" only if you meet these (3) three requirements:
-Same COLOR as exisiting OR using the pallette from the Historic Approved Color List
-Same STYLE as existing
-Same MATERIAL as existing