General Statement

The Secretary of the Interior’s Standards for Rehabilitation and Guidelines for Rehabilitating Historic Buildings state in part that:

“The distinguishing original qualities or character of a building, structure, or site and its environment shall not be destroyed. The removal or alteration of any historic material or distinctive architectural features should be avoided when possible.”

“Distinctive stylistic features or examples of skilled craftsmanship which characterize a building, structure, or site shall be treated with sensitivity.”

“Deteriorated architectural features shall be repaired rather than replaced, wherever possible. In the event replacement is necessary, the new material should match the material being replaced in composition, design, color, texture, and other visual qualities. Repair or replacement of missing architectural features should be based on accurate duplications of features, substantiated by historic, physical, or pictorial evidence rather than on conjectural designs or the availability of different architectural elements from other buildings or structures.”

“Contemporary design for alterations and additions to existing properties shall not be discouraged when such alterations and additions do not destroy significant historical, architectural or cultural material, and such design is compatible with the size, scale, color, material, and character of the property, neighborhood or environment.”

The Secretary of the Interior’s Standards for Rehabilitation and Guidelines for Rehabilitating Historic buildings are available for review at the City’s Neighborhood Services Office. Applicants may wish to review the Standards and Guidelines as well as this Commission’s guidelines prior to submitting an application.

The guidelines adopted by the Historic Preservation Commission address specific types of structures and features and are provided to assist in the interpretation and application of the secretary of the Interior’s Standards and Guidelines but do not supersede them. The purpose of those guidelines is to assist property owners, architects, and building improvement contractors in planning appropriate repairs, rehabilitations and additions to designated historic landmarks and properties within established historic districts. These districts currently include Heritage Hill, Heartside and Cherry Hill.

These guidelines by their nature must be written broadly. The City’s Neighborhood Services Office staff can provide additional materials to assist applicants. These include various references works and compilations of photographs keyed to the guidelines. For instance, there is a binder of photographs of garage doors showing original doors, appropriate replacement doors and inappropriate replacement doors. While not definitive, these resources can help applicants to design and present to the Commission proposals which meet applicable standards.

Each application is considered on its own terms. A complete, thorough application fully detailing the proposed work is a pre-requisite to consideration by the Commission. Applicants who use the guidelines, consult the staff and present complete applications will speed the review process and improve the likelihood that their proposal will be approved.

These guidelines were approved by the Michigan Bureau of History as of May 24, 1995 pursuant to Section 5.(3) of Act 169 of 1970, as amended (Local Historic Districts Act).