The Division of Planning and Permitting

  1. Changes to Historic Properties
  2. Forms/ Documents
  3. Historic Designations
  4. County Register
  5. Rural and Scenic Roads
  6. Grant Availability
  7. Recovering Identity Project

Making Changes to Your Historic Properties

HistoricPreservationLogo-Color-01.JPGOwners of historic properties share a responsibility for helping to maintain the distinctive qualities that allow Frederick County’s historic properties and districts to retain their character and integrity. In return, owners enjoy the advantages of increased property value and protection from inappropriate changes or new development.  Exterior building or site work on properties listed on the Frederick County Register of Historic Places, that is more than routine maintenance, requires a Certificate of Appropriateness.

Routine Maintenance

A Certificate of Appropriateness is not required for routine maintenance.  View the list of items the Historic Preservation Commission considers to be routine maintenance. Routine Maintenance List

Certificate of Appropriateness (CoA)

A Certificate of Appropriateness (CoA) is required for all proposed exterior alterations, new construction, site work, and demolition within a designated historic property, with the exception of interior alterations, routine maintenance that will have no effect on the exterior fabric or features, or paint colors. 

Administrative Approval for Certificates of Appropriateness

Residents and owners of properties designated to the County Register of Historic Places may obtain administrative approval from Historic Preservation Commission staff for selected building and site work projects.  The Historic Preservation Planner, as qualified under the Secretary of the Interior's Standards and Guidelines - Professional Qualifications Standards (Professional Qualifications - 36 CFR Part 61), will base approval on the Historic Preservation Commission's Design Guidelines and The Secretary of the Interior's Standards for the Rehabilitation of Historic Properties.

Administrative Approval Guidelines

Application for Administrative Approval for Certificate of Appropriateness

Projects that do not meet the criteria for an administrative approval, will need to complete a Certificate of Appropriateness application to be scheduled for a public hearing before the HPC.  The application process is outlined below.

Certificate of Appropriateness Application

The HPC will review the proposed work and determine if it meets the Frederick County Register of Historic Places Guidelines.  These guidelines are based on the Secretary of the Interior’s Standards for Rehabilitation.

Frederick County Design Guidelines Opens in new windowFrederick County Register of Historic Places Guidelines

Application Procedure

All applications to appear before the HPC should be accompanied by appropriate supporting materials at the times specified. Appropriate supporting documents include photographs, site plans, construction drawings, and material samples and specifications.  Late or incomplete applications cannot be placed on the HPC agenda.  The applicant bears the responsibility for ensuring that all applications are complete and on time.  The agenda is set two weeks prior to each meeting.  It is not uncommon for applicants to appear before the HPC at two or more meetings.  This may be necessary if documentation is inadequate or substantial design revisions are required.

Types of Review

The HPC conducts two types of review - informal and formal.  The HPC will review development concepts or proposals and give general guidance at an informal "workshop" session.  There is no formal recommendation made by the HPC at a workshop session and the only requirement for supporting materials is that the proposal be clearly presented whether in written form, drawings, or other graphic form.  Supporting documentation may be provided to staff prior to the meeting but this is not a requirement for a workshop session.

When the HPC formally reviews more fully developed and detailed proposals, every aspect is considered in terms of protecting the heritage resources and historic character of the property or district. In addition to exterior architectural design elements - such as form and material - elements to be reviewed could include plans for site design, grading, clearing, parking, travel ways, access points, landscaping, outdoor lighting, signage, fences, walls, and other site features.  As a practical matter, all elements of a proposal need not be reviewed at the same time.  This is the choice of the applicant. When the formal review of each element of the proposal - site design, architectural design, landscape design - is completed, the HPC will recommend approval, approval with conditions, or disapproval.  Its recommendation and comments will be recorded in the minutes of the meeting or meetings during which the review takes place.

Materials to be Submitted

A package containing a completed application form and a description of the proposal should be submitted by the applicant to the Planning Staff at least 30 days before the meeting at which the applicant wishes to present the proposal.  Some proposals are more complex than others and the documentation presented should reflect this.  At a minimum, documentation should clearly communicate to the HPC, and for the record, the nature of the proposal and its impact on the historic character of the property and/or district.  If the nature of the submission makes it appropriate, copies of the following should be submitted:

  1. The application form with a map showing the location of the subject property.
  2. Site and grading plan, including as appropriate, building footprints, and limits of clearing and grading, trails and/or other pedestrian paths; any easement boundaries, in-ground features, such as swimming pools, and unusual features such as high fences or other structures.  Minimum scale should be 1" = 30’.
  3. Landscape plan, including a tabulation of the plant and tree species and size at time of planting.  Minimum scale should be 1" = 30’.
  4. Architectural drawings, including elevations of all building facades and footprints as necessary to help interpret the form of the building.  Minimum scale should be 1/4" = 1’ (1/8" = 1’ may be appropriate for structures larger than a single-family house).  If a proposal is particularly complex, a perspective drawing may be helpful.
  5. Photographs of the subject property and adjacent land and/or development.
  6. Samples of materials to be used are encouraged to be available for presentation at the HPC review.

Contact Us

  1. Historic Preservation
    30 N. Market St.
    Frederick, MD 21701

    Amanda Whitmore

    Ph: 301-600-1147
    Fx: 301-600-1645

    Monday - Friday
    8 a.m. - 4 p.m.

    Staff Directory
Historic Preservation

Frederick County is committed to identifying and preserving the rich historic and cultural resources of the unincorporated areas of the county. County staff is available to assist property owners in researching their property history, determining whether it is eligible for Historic Preservation Designation, identifying ways to preserve the property and finding Historic Preservation Financial Incentives for preservation.

For information about the Historic Preservation Commission, please visit this page.