What Homeowners Need to Know.

What does it mean to you as a home owner to live in a historic conservation district?

Click Here for a complete list of City Ordinances 

There are certain restrictions much like neighborhood covenants that all homeowners must abide by, however, our covenants are enforced by the City of Hattiesburg and the Historic Conservation Commission. All remodeling and general maintenance work within this neighborhood (and the other four local conservation districts) requires one of the following, which can be obtained from the Historic Preservation Planning office (2nd Floor, City Hall, Planning Division, 200 Forrest Street):

Letter of Compliance

Administrative review and approval (does not require a public hearing) in the form of a Letter of Compliance (LOC) are used when requests for work are:

  • Routine in nature and involve repair without change to design, form or materials
  • Painting exterior (surfaces that have never been painted require review)
  • Roof repair or re-roofing with the same materials as existing

Certificate of Appropriateness

A COA is required prior to making any exterior alterations to properties within the designated districts, landmarks or sites.  Exterior alterations include but are not limited to:

  • Change to the design or materials of any building features such as exterior finishes or trim, roofs and chimneys, windows, doors, porches, garages and additions and security.
  • Alteration or addition of fences, sidewalks, driveways, signs, lights, retaining walls and other site elements
  • Demolition
  • Removal of trees over 6” in diameter

Agendas

Applications and support materials must be submitted by noon on the Friday, 12 days prior to the regular HHCC meeting, normally the second Wednesday of each month.

Hattiesburg Historic Conservation Commission

The Hattiesburg Historic Conservation Commission (HHCC) is a 9-member board of citizen volunteers who are appointed by the Mayor, with approval of the City Council, to guide the historic preservation process.  The Commission meets monthly on the second Wednesday to review applications for Certificates of Appropriateness (COA).

The review process is guided by the Historic Conservation Ordinance and the Hattiesburg Design Guidelines Manual, based on the U.S. Department of the Interior Standards for Rehabilitation for Historic Preservation Projects.      Click Here to Download the Guidelines Manual pg 1-74    Guidelines Manual pgs 74-115

Applications for COA’s must be submitted by Noon on the Friday, 12 days prior to the regular HHCC meeting (2nd Wednesday of the month). Applications for COA’s require a Pre-Application meeting with the Historic Preservation Planner (2nd Floor City Hall, Planning Division, 200 Forrest Street).

Pre-application Meeting

Owners of property in locally designated historic districts who are considering renovations or alterations should contact the Historic Preservation Planner, Planning Division, Department of Urban Development, Hattiesburg City Hall, to determine what type of historic permits and procedure will be required for their project.

The Historic Preservation Planner can assist you with:

  • Applications and information about required documentation
  • Technical assistance about historic preservation and renovation
  • Information from the district inventory filed, National Register nomination documents and other records.
  • Details about policies, procedures and guidelines used by the Historic Conservation Commission in the review and approval process
  • Information about deadlines and notification requirements

Procedure

To apply for a Certificate of Appropriateness (COA):

  1. Obtain an application from the Historic Preservation Planner, Planning Division, Department of Urban Development.
  2. Complete application and attach all pertinent information, such as drawings, descriptions and specified materials:
  1. a.    Plans and exterior elevations drawn to scale that clearly show the design and the architectural character of the proposed building or alteration.
  2. b.    Lists of materials, textures and other characteristics about appearance.
  3. c.     For site work, a scaled drawing that clearly shows the shape and dimensions of the site, locations of existing and proposed buildings or other structures and the landscaping and any substantial changes to paved areas, driveway entrances and exits, walls, fences, railings, walks, terraces, signs, and lighting and similar features.
  1. Return completed application with supporting documents to the Historic Preservation Planner.

Only complete applications with supporting documents will be added to the agenda. The agenda cutoff is Noon, 12 calendar days before the Commission meeting to allow for notification and posting.

  1. Meetings of the Historic Conservation Commission are public hearings. Consequently, notice of the meeting is posted on a sign on the application’s property at least five days prior to the commission meeting.
  2. Applicants or their representative are required to attend the hearing in order to present and answer questions about the application.
  3. Following presentation of the applications for Certificate of Appropriateness, members of the Historic Conservation Commission discuss and vote on each application, and specifications are made for the projects.
  4. Once a Certificate of Appropriateness is approved and signed, applicants may obtain any necessary permits for their project.

Painting, interior alterations, and routine repairs/maintenance that do not change appearance do not require a Certificate of Appropriateness; however, a Letter of Compliance and, possibly Building Permits, are required for such work.

It is the responsibility of the property owner to obtain other permits and variances as required by the City.

Conservation Resources

Federal and State Historic Preservation Tax Incentives  http://mdah.state.ms.us/hpres/prestaxincent.php

National Park Service: Preservation Briefshttp://www.nps.gov/history/hps/tps/briefs/presbhom.htm

National Park Service: The Secretary of the Interior’s Standards for the Treatment of Historic Properties with guidelines for preserving, rehabilitating, restoring, and reconstructing historic buildings     http://www.nps.gov/history/hps/tps/standguide

National Park Service: Weatherizing and Improving the Energy Efficiency of Historic Buildings http://www.nps.gov/history/hps/tps/weather/index.html

National Park Service: Incentives! A Guide to the Federal Historic Preservation Tax Incentives Program for Income-Producing Properties  http://www.nps.gov/history/hps/tps/tax/incentives/essentials_1.htm

National Park Service: Technical Preservation Services’ Publications and Online Materialshttp://www.nps.gov/history/hps/tps/tax/download/tax_tech_index_2008.pdf

 Mississippi Department of Archives and History       http://mdah.state.ms.us/

National Trust for Historic Preservation    http://www.preservationnation.org/


FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)

Select any one of the topics below to find answers to the questions most frequently asked of the Hattiesburg Historic Preservation Division.

· Do I need a Certificate of Appropriateness (COA) to paint the outside of my house or building?

No, unless the building has never been painted, in which case painting it would be a change in design and materials.

· I want to remodel the inside of my house, including modernizing the kitchen and bathrooms. Do I need a COA?

No, a COA is not required for interior work. Interior remodeling may require building permits, however, depending on the type and extent of the work.

· Do I need a COA to replace window in my house with new ones?

Yes, changes to or replacement of major exterior features such as windows and doors requires a COA. Repair is always recommended before replacement.

· We want to add a room onto our historic house, and later we would like to build a carport. Will we need to obtain a COA?

Yes, additions to existing houses and construction of new buildings both require a COA.

· A large pecan tree is growing too close to our house and is dropping limbs on the roof. Do we need a COA in order to remove the tree?

Yes, tree removal requires evaluation by the Urban Forester and a COA.