Historic District Commission

The Historic District Commission was established September 1, 1975 to protect and preserve, for the benefit of the community as a whole, the significant historic and architectural elements that contribute to the visual character of the Historic District of the Borough.

Certificate of Appropriateness

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A permit, called a Certificate of Appropriateness, is required for demolition of existing structures, construction of new buildings or structures, or remodeling or alterations of exterior features of buildings and structures. The Commission acts for the purpose of controlling the erection or alteration of buildings or structures which are incongruous with the historic or architectural characteristics of the Borough of Fenwick Historic District. The Commission will consider the following factors, among others, when it reviews applications:

  • detailing and workmanship, texture
  • exterior windows, doors, light fixtures, signs, above-ground utility structures and mechanical appurtenances
  • exterior building materials – new, replacement, reconstruction or renovation
  • historic value and significance, architectural style
  • proportion, massing and shape, scale, height or number of stories, roof forms.
  • placement on the lot, orientation and directional expression.
  • relationship of the exterior architectural features involved to the buildings and structures in the general area
  • continuity of walls and fences
  • style, material, size and location of signs
  • size of parking areas, visibility of cars therein and their relationship to adjacent buildings
  • placement of any structures, fountains and the like of a permanent nature

A Certificate of Appropriateness is required whether or not the proposed activity requires a building permit or demolition permit. If such permits are required, State Statute prohibits their issuance until a Certificate of Appropriateness has been issued by the Historic District Commission. A Certificate of Appropriateness is required for all repairs or replacements in kind on the exterior of a structure. However, some work in kind may be dealt with administratively and a Certificate of Appropriateness issued without a public hearing.

Enforcement

State Statute (CGS§ 7-147) empowers the municipal Historic District Commission to enforce its regulations through court proceedings, if necessary.

Public Hearings

A Public Hearing must be held on each application. Before a public hearing on the application can proceed:

  • The application must be complete, including any and all necessary documents.
  • The applicant must supply evidence of certified mail notification of the owners of record (in the Assessor’s office) of all properties within 200 feet of the subject property’s boundaries as to the nature of the request and date of the hearing.

The applicant or his/her designated agent or attorney must attend the hearing. It is strongly advised the applicant be present. Applications without presenters may be denied at the Commission’s option.

Hearings are generally scheduled for Commission regular meetings which are held every other month. Special meetings may be scheduled as needed.

Variations

The Commission may grant a variation from, or modification of, the provisions of the Regulations where their strict application would result in exceptional practical difficulty or undue hardship for the applicant because of topographical conditions, district borderline situations or other unusual circumstances concerning only the property for which the granting of the application is sought and not generally affecting the district. The Commission may vary or modify the Regulations or interpret them in a way that would relieve the hardship or difficulty, so long as its actions are in harmony with the general purpose and intent of the Regulations, the general character of the district is conserved and substantial justice is done.

When granting variations, modifications or interpretations of these Regulations, the Commission may impose reasonable stipulations and conditions as will, in its judgment, fulfill the purpose of these Regulations. The Commission shall place upon its records and in its notice to the applicant, the reasons for its decision.

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