Historic District Commission


  • Authority set forth by Ordinance 439 adopted 10/2/67
  • City Council appoints five members to five-year terms and three alternates to two-year terms beginning on January 1


MemberPartyTerm Ends
Dowhan, TimothyD12/31/24
Stahl, Peter JacobR12/31/23
Miner, ReganU12/31/25
O’Neil, NancyD12/31/26
Johnson, Gregory W                                                              D                                              12/31/22

Farlow, GregoryR12/31/24
Rugh, DayneU12/31/24

Agendas & Minutes

Agendas are available prior to the meetings. Until approved, meeting minutes are drafts and subject to correction by the body for which they were prepared. Minutes are typically approved at the body’s next regular meeting.

Most Recent Agenda | View All Agendas and Minutes | Rule of Procedures & Regulations I Meeting Documents

About the Historic District Commission 

The Norwich Historic District Commission is comprised of volunteers appointed by the city council. The Commission was established by ordinance of the city council to ensure the protection and preservation of buildings and places of historic interest within the city. The enabling state statute that established Historic District Commissions is G.S. 7-147 a-y. Under the statute, Historic District Commissions may promote the educational, cultural, and economic and general welfare of the public through the preservation and protection of significant historic resources. Two local historic districts were recognized: the Norwichtown Historic District in 1967 and the Little Plain Historic District in 1969. Properties in the two local historic districts are subject to review by the Historic District Commission. 

The Historic District Commission and the Norwich Historical Society are not the same entity; they are separate organizations.

Historic District Commission Design Guidelines

Local Historic Districts

Any physical alterations to the exterior of a historic structure, construction of a new structure, or demolition of an existing structure that is visible from a public way in the local historic district are reviewed by a local historic district commission. Norwich has two local historic districts; the Norwichtown and Little Plain Historic District, which are regulated by the Norwich Historic District Commission. Local Historic Districts are more restrictive and they are automatically included in National Historic Districts (which means they are eligible for certain financial incentives such as tax credits).

Certificate of Appropriateness

Every project on a building within an established Historic District that involves changes to exterior architectural details requires a Certificate of Appropriateness (COA.) The Historic District Commission is required to advertise all COAs in the newspaper 5-15 days prior to the next scheduled public hearing. The Norwich Historic District Commission typically meets on the third Wednesday of the month.  Please submit your COA application electronically by the first Monday of the month via email to hdc@cityofnorwich.org.  The Commission checks this email account regularly Monday-Fridays.  Any COA applications received less than 7 days prior to the next meeting date will automatically be listed on the following month’s agenda. Your application should include a detailed written description of the project, appropriate photographs and drawings. Your application will be presented at a public hearing. Following approval by the Norwich Historic District Commission, the application will be forwarded to the Building Department who may issue a building permit if one is required. Please allow 48 hours for a record of voting to be issued. For assistance in completing the applications, please refer to the Frequently Asked Questions. Please consult our list of commonly used definitions. Please note that Certificate of Appropriateness applications are valid for 6 months.   That time period may be extended by action of the Historic District Commission prior to the expiration of the COA. Extensions cannot be provided after a COA has expired; a new COA application would be necessary

When is a COA Required?

In determining appropriateness the commission will consider all architectural details visible from a public way as well as neighborhood compatibility and historic interest. A COA is required for, but not limited to, any of the following exterior work:

  • Construction of a new building or structure or relocation of an existing one.
  • Alteration, removal, or addition to exterior architectural features.
  • Any proposed demolition, whole or part of existing structures.
  • Any change in materials.
  • Replacement, addition or modification of windows, doors, storm windows or doors, shutters, skylights.
  • Replacement of roofing using different materials or change in pitch. 
  • Installation or replacement of permanent outdoor signs.
  • Installation or replacement of fences, walls, curb cuts, driveways, exterior lighting and other fixed structures such as: utility meters, fuel tanks, air conditioners, antennae, satellite dishes, and solar heating units.

Please see our Rules of Procedure and Definitions for more examples

When is a COA not required?

The following work does NOT require a Certificate of Appropriateness:

  • Any alteration not visible from a public street, way or place
  • Routine maintenance that does not involve a change in materials, design, or texture
  • Painting (with no change of material) and paint color
  • Interior alterations

What to include in your COA application

In addition to your application, please include a short description of the scope of work, a photograph of the property from the street, photograph of the specific work to be performed, and catalog sheets or descriptions of specific materials to be used, including, but not limited to lumber material, metal materials, construction materials, finishes, fasteners (note that vinyl, plastic, fiberglass, aluminum or similar materials are not likely to be approved). You may add this information as an attachment or addendum to your COA application. Please submit your COA application and attachments in PDF format; do not submit your application as a JPEG. 

Rules of Procedure & Frequently Asked Questions

View the Historic District Commission’s Rules of Procedure and Regulations.

View the Historic District Commission's Frequently Asked Questions.

Additional Material

Historic District Commission Design Guidelines

Norwich Historic District Commission Brochure

Local and National Register Historic Districts Brochure

Financial Incentives & Resources for Historic Homeowners

If you own a property that is in a National Register or Local Historic District or listed on the National Register of Historic Places, then your property is eligible for financial incentives such as the Historic Homes Rehabilitation Tax Credit! Please visit the State Historic Preservation Office’s website to learn about this great incentive.  

Preservation Connecticut is a nonprofit organization, originally named Connecticut Trust for Historic Preservation, established by special acts of the State Legislature in 1975 and 1985 to preserve, protect, and promote the buildings, sites, and landscapes that contribute to the heritage and vitality of Connecticut communities.  For more resources for historic house homeowners, please visit Preservation Connecticut’s website

 Learn How to Make Your Historic Home More Energy Efficient While Maintaining Its Historic Character