WHEN: Fourth Tuesday of each month
WHERE: Seneca Falls Municipal Building
TIME: 7:00 pm
The Heritage Preservation Commission (HPC) is responsible for preserving the Town of Seneca Falls historic buildings located within the Historic District. The Commission is a five member board appointed by the Town Board with representatives from all four former Village wards. HPC members are volunteers and serve five year staggered terms.
Role of the Heritage Preservation Commission
The Commission may exercise aesthetic judgment and maintain the desirable character of the historic properties and prevent construction, reconstruction, alteration or demolition out of harmony with existing properties insofar as style, materials, color, line or detail are concerned; and thus to prevent degeneration of property, safeguard public health, prevent fire, promote safety and preserve the beauty and character of the historic properties. It may also recommend to the Town Board the designation of landmarks and restoration in addition to other responsibilities as outlined in section §13-5 of the Town Code.
What preservation law governs us?
- The Model Landmarks Preservation Law for New York State Municipalities (Model Preservation Law) sets forth the legal framework and body of law for our historic preservation efforts: Model Landmark Preservation Law for New York State Municipalities
- Seneca Falls’ local preservation law can be found in Chapter 173 Historic Preservation (§ 173-1 – § 173-13) of the Code on the Town of Seneca Falls website: https://www.ecode360.com/6851490
- Our law protects, enhances and perpetuates landmarks and historic districts representing distinctive elements of the Town’s significant cultural, social, economic, political, educational, architectural and cultural resources, through local designation and application approval processes.
Applying for a Certificate of Appropriateness
If you live in the historic district and are considering making changes to your home, you may require a Certificate of Appropriateness. All projects within the historic district that stand to change the exterior appearance of any buildings including but not limited to:
- Windows and Shutters
- Doors and Garage Doors
- Porches and Decks
- Landscaping, Fences, Walls and Pavement
Structural additions, demolition, and the addition of accessory structures require approval by the Heritage Preservation Commission. The Historic District Street Listing includes all properties within the boundary. If you reside in the district, please consult the Heritage Preservation Commission, Zoning & Code Enforcement, or the Office of the Town Clerk with questions about your project. Before you demolish, move, or alter your property in any way that might affect its historic character, or your neighborhood, you must obtain a CERTIFICATE OF APPROPRIATENESS from the Commission.
Applications must be submitted on the Monday of the week prior to the HPC meeting at which they are to be considered. Applications are available from the Office of the Town Clerk, Zoning & Code Enforcement or electronically (link to Cert of Approp form).
Applications are evaluated on the following criteria:
- The scale of the change in relation to its surroundings.
- The materials and colors used in the change, in relation to the surroundings as well as the history of the structure.
- The compatibility of the proposed changes in relation to the history of the structure, as well as other historic buildings in the neighborhood.
If the Commission issues a Certificate of Appropriateness, then a building permit can be issued, and work can proceed as described in the certificate. If the board denies your Certificate of Appropriateness, or approves, but attaches conditions on their approval that the owner finds unacceptable, an Economic Hardship certificate can be applied for through the HPC, or an appeal to Town Board can be made.
Heritage Preservation Commission