Historic Preservation Commissions

No one likes the government telling them how their home should look, but when it comes to historic homes, many neighbors applaud when the government intervenes. For decades, historic areas have been establishing committees to be watch dogs of historic districts. Here in Minnesota, they are called Historic Preservation Commissions. In other states they are called Architectural Review Boards.

In Florida, where we renovated a 110 year old Queen Anne Victorian, we had to go up in front of a tribunal called the Architectural Review Board. Let’s just say, if the home is historic, than any renovations have to keep in the spirit of the home. They are ten times more strict than any commission here in the Twin Cities. Take for instance the 22 original wood windows in the home. Here in the Twin Cities, people can replace their homes with vinyl windows. In Florida, vinyl is not an option. The only thing we could do was replace with wood windows, which by the way, you cannot find at Lowe’s. We had to have Pella windows custom make all the windows, especially the 9′ floor to ceiling windows. Needless to say, they were not cheap.

Historic Preservation Commissions are a good thing. They allow for some or alot of design control, but how far their reach stretches, depends on the details in the local ordinances. Those that make the laws determine how “historic” a home must remain. Many times, the judgements passed by the HPC can be non-binding, with final approval given by the city. Other times the HPC holds the final say. It all depends on where you live and the local ordinances.

To learn more about local commissions, visit the following websites:

Saint Paul Heritage Preservation Commission

Minneapolis Heritage Preservation Commission

Stillwater Heritage Preservation Commission

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