Historic Preservation

About Greensboro's Historic Districts

Greensboro's three historic districts, Charles B. Aycock, Fisher Park, and College Hill, are governed by a part of Greensboro's zoning ordinance that limits the kinds of exterior work and landscaping may be done to buildings and yards in the districts.

The aim of the ordinance is to preserve the historical character of the neighborhoods and to prevent historic structures from being destroyed or remodeled out of all recognition.

The ordinances do not in any way restrict interior renovation or remodeling.

Historic District Guidelines

The document that outlines what kinds of exterior work are permitted in the historic districts is the City's Historic District Program Manual and Design Guidelines.

You can download a copy of the Guidelines by clicking the following link:

Historic District Design Guidelines (Adobe PDF format)

If you are new in the neighborhood, are thinking about moving here, or are considering undertaking new construction or renovation in the district, it is very important that you read the Guidelines.

A little time spent at the beginning of a project in looking over the Guidelines will likely save you a great deal of time and expense if it later turns out that your work falls outside the scope of the Guidelines and you have to re-do it. Don't put yourself, the neighborhood, and the City in that position!

What's The Process?

Read the Guidelines that are relevant to your project.

  1. Plan your project. You can get free advice about from Mike Cowhig or Stefan-leih Geary, who administer the Historic District program. You can reach them at (336) 373.2349. You will find that they are very knowledgeable and willing to help.

  2. Submit an application for a Certificate of Appropriateness (COA) to the Historic Preservation Commission. You can get an application from Housing and Community Development (tel. 336.373.2349), or download one by clicking here. There is no application fee. The Historic Preservation Commission reviews all applications on the last Wednesday of every month, and your application must be submitted two weeks before that meeting. Your application should be clear and detailed enough so that the Commission understands exactly what your project involves. If Commission members cannot figure out what you are trying to do, your project may be delayed.

  3. Go to the Aycock neighborhood board meeting. The Aycock Board of Directors looks at all applications for COAs and makes recommendations about them to the Historic Preservation Commission. The board is there to help you through the process, and if you are at the meeting to answer questions and get advice, things generally go smoothly.

  4. Go to the Historic Preservation Commission meeting. Usually the commissioners will do everything they can, within the Guidelines, to help your project get off the ground. But if you're not there to explain your project, your application may get continued until the next meeting if there are significant questions about it

Routine Work and Staff Approval

Many routine projects do not require that your application go before the Historic Preservation Commission. For such work, COAs can be issued by staff and usually arrive within a few days of receipt of your application. Even for routine projects you must send in an application.  If you think your project falls into the staff-only approval catagory, call Mike Cowhig at (336) 373.2349.

What Happens If You Don't Get a COA

City zoning enforcement officers will probably order you to stop work until a COA is issued. Fines or penalties can be levied for failure to comply.