FAQ: Former Colonial Inn
The former Colonial Inn, which dates to 1838, is a contributing structure in Hillsborough’s historic district and is listed in the National Register of Historic Places.
The Town of Hillsborough and the owners of the property, located at 153 W. King St., have agreed to settle an eminent domain proceeding filed by the town in July 2016 to acquire the former inn. See the settlement agreement.
Hillsborough is one of the most historically important towns in North Carolina, and the former Colonial Inn is one of the most important structures in Hillsborough. The laws of North Carolina and of the Town of Hillsborough defend against the destruction of cultural property, as well as against the creation of a public safety hazard and violations of minimum housing standards.
The town has dealt with numerous issues surrounding the Colonial Inn property since 2003. In July 2016, it filed an action to begin eminent domain proceedings, primarily due to a concern for public safety. The action meant the town would seek to acquire the structure and the owners would receive just compensation for the property. The action was taken to address long running concerns with demolition by neglect, minimum housing code violations, and other public interests.
In May 2017, the town filed a voluntary dismissal of the eminent domain action to provide the owners the opportunity to sell the former inn without interference from the proceeding. The settlement agreement allows the town to pursue acquisition of the former inn in an expedited manner if the current owners do not select a suitable buyer.
If the town does acquire the former inn, the town proposes that the property ultimately be transferred to a public-private partnership, which will be responsible for stabilization and restoration under guidelines set by the town and memorialized in a preservation agreement.
In January 2015, the town contracted with the Development Finance Initiative of the UNC School of Government to determine which types of public participation may be necessary to renovate the structure and return it to economic use. The documents below explain the results of the study.
For further information, contact the Planning Department at 919-296-9470.
Following is a summary of activities related to 153 W. King St. since 2000:
- January 2002: Orange County sheriff conducts an auction to sell the property.
- April 2002: A deed is recorded formalizing the sale of the property to Colonial Inn LLC for a price of $410,000.
- September 2003: The town receives two letters of complaint from citizens alleging demolition by neglect at the property.
- November 2003: The structure is given a “Statewide Significance” designation by the State Historic Preservation Office based on an application by Cathleen Turner, executive director of the Alliance for Historic Hillsborough.
- February 2004: Demolition-by-neglect notices are hand-delivered to the owner, Francis Henry. The town conducts a public hearing on the demolition-by-neglect complaint. The ruling confirms that demolition by neglect is occurring and orders specific repairs with time frames.
- March 2004: Civil penalties by the town commence because no corrective actions are taken within the 30-day time frame given in the repair order.
- April 2004: Real estate for sale signs appear on the property. A lawsuit filed by the town and a counter-lawsuit begin regarding the prevention-of-demolition-by-neglect process and the repair order from the town.
- June 2005: A settlement is reached, with $2,500 paid by the owner to the town for preservation purposes.
- April 2007: The town adopts a new Prevention of Demolition by Neglect Ordinance.
- August 2007: The owner applies for permission to demolish the structure’s rear addition, make repairs and re-roof the structure. A Certificate of Appropriateness is granted by the Hillsborough Historic District Commission.
- September 2007: A rezoning request is made by the owner to change the property from its R20 residential zoning to a “Central Commercial” zoning. A protest petition is filed by adjoining property owners.
- October 2007: A public hearing on the rezoning request is conducted by the town. Testimony indicates that the 1986 zoning decision was a conscious choice by the town and not a mistake as contended in the application. See the hearing minutes.
- November 2007: The Hillsborough Planning Board recommends denial of the rezoning request, indicating that the residential zoning was not a mistake and that better tools exist to protect the structure.
- January 2008: The Hillsborough Board of Commissioners and the owner meet to discuss the rezoning request; the owner verbally withdraws the rezoning request. See meeting minutes.
- July 2008: The town receives a complaint letter alleging demolition by neglect of the structure.
- September 2008: Town staff give formal notification of the complaint to the property owner and Historic District Commission members, including a staff report as well as findings and pictures from a site visit.
- December 2008: The Board of Commissioners discuss a right-of-way and sidewalk concern in front of the former inn. The town and owner agree to leave the situation as is. The board amends the Zoning Ordinance to include “event center” as a special use within the Central Commercial zoning district. “Event Center” is a combination of restaurant, bar, lodging, nightclub and/or meeting space.
- January 2009: The town conducts a public hearing on the demolition-by-neglect complaint. The ruling confirms that demolition by neglect is occurring and orders specific repairs with time frames. A timeline of activities related to the property is created.
- March-November 2009: Official staff site visits are conducted to check on the completion of the repair order’s items; when the work ceases, enforcement begins.
- November 2009: A final zoning violation notice is sent to the owner for failure to comply with the Prevention of Demolition by Neglect Order. The property owner appeals to the Hillsborough Board of Adjustment.
- March 2010: The Board of Adjustment upholds the zoning officer’s decision.
- June 2010: The town files a lawsuit against Colonial Inn LLC seeking to compel compliance with the repair order.
- September 2010: The town receives a complaint letter that the structure does not meet the Hillsborough Minimum Housing Code.
- December 2010: Court issues an order granting a default judgment for the town, directing repair work to commence by Jan. 14, 2011, and to be completed by April 30, 2011. The order also provides that judgment may be entered for the town in the amount of $5,000 if the work is not completed in a timely manner and authorizes the town to complete the work, in its discretion, and to charge the cost of the work as a lien against the property.
- February 2011: The town adopts the Unified Development Ordinance to replace the Zoning Ordinance. The Unified Development Ordinance creates a “Central Commercial Special Use” zoning district intended for land uses permitted in the Central Commercial general purpose district that warrant special consideration. The district requires the submittal of a detailed special use permit application with the rezoning request. This change allows the town and property owner to agree to conditions on the rezoning and to limit uses to those detailed in the application.
- September 2011: Town staff conduct a Minimum Housing Code inspection of the structure.
- October 2011: The town obtains a judgment against Colonial Inn LLC for $5,000 based on the owner’s failure to complete repair work in a timely manner per the December 2010 court order.
- November 2011: The town conducts a Minimum Housing Code hearing, finding that the structure is not fit for human habitation and cannot be occupied. The repair order provides a list of work necessary to reoccupy the structure and a list of work necessary to be in compliance with the Minimum Housing Code. The property owner appeals the ruling to the Board of Adjustment.
- December 2011: The Board of Adjustment upholds the Minimum Housing Code finding and extends the deadline for the owner to vacate to Jan. 16, 2012.
- May 2012: The town commences summary ejectment proceedings against Francis Henry and Colonial Inn LLC to remove Henry from the premises. The judgment is entered on May, 29, 2012.
- March 2013: The town adopts a Future Land Use Plan, which places the property at 153 W. King St. in the Town Center category, allowing for the possibility of rezoning to the Central Commercial Special Use Zoning District. The district allows event centers and other uses similar to the former Colonial Inn operation.
- June 2014: The property owner files an application for a Certificate of Appropriateness for permission to demolish the structure.
- August 2014: The Historic District Commission conducts a hearing on the Certificate of Appropriateness application and unanimously denies the request for noncompliance with the Hillsborough Historic District Design Guidelines. The property owner appeals the commission’s decision to the Board of Adjustment. The appeal is scheduled for review.
- October 2014: The Board of Adjustment conducts a hearing on the appeal and unanimously upholds the Historic District Commissions decision to deny the Certificate of Appropriateness application.
- November 2014: The Board of Adjustment’s formal finding on the decision to deny the Certificate of Appropriateness application is adopted at its Nov. 12 meeting. The property owner has 30 days from the receipt of that formal ruling to decide whether to appeal the decision to Orange County Superior Court.
- December 2014: The deadline for an appeal to Orange County Superior Court passes, and no appeal is filed. The denial of the Certificate of Appropriateness application stands as final.
- January 2015: The Board of Commissioners adopts a resolution documenting the town’s intended actions toward preserving the former Colonial Inn. The board also approves contracting with Development Finance Initiative of the UNC School of Government for advice on redevelopment options for the property.
- July 2015: The town fire marshal issues an Order of Evacuation, stating that no one may enter the building for any purpose not described in a permit issued by the Orange County Building Inspections Department, only licensed contractors can work in or around the building, all combustible materials must be removed and that the town would take measures to secure the building and prevent unauthorized access. The owner is ordered to bring the building back to a safe condition.
- August 2015: The town secures the building by boarding the windows and doors.
- October 2015: The town fire marshal issues a Notice of Failure to Take Corrective Action for not bringing the building back to a safe condition. The Board of Commissioners adopts a resolution to commence eminent domain proceedings.
- January 2016: The town meets with representatives of the owners, who agree to allow appraisers hired by the town to inspect the property.
- March 2016: Following demolition of the newer back section of the building and remediation of other fire hazards, the fire marshal lifts the evacuation order.
- July 2016: The town, with direction from the Board of Commissioners, files an action in Orange County Superior Court to begin formal legal proceedings to acquire the property by eminent domain.
- April 2017: The town meets with owners and the owners’ representatives in a Superior Court-ordered mediation, resulting in a proposal to settle the eminent domain action. The action is intended to provide owners with the opportunity to sell the former inn.
- May 2017: The town, with direction from the Board of Commissioners, files for voluntary dismissal of the eminent domain action. The agreement allows the town to pursue acquisition of the property in an expedited manner if the current owners’ efforts to sell are unsuccessful.
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Why was the eminent domain action taken?
The town has an obligation to enforce the public safety, minimum housing and demolition by neglect ordinances. In addition to protecting the public health and safety of citizens, the town took action to help save a valuable cultural asset. The former Colonial Inn dates to 1838 and is a contributing structure in Hillsborough’s historic district. It is listed in the National Register of Historic Places and was granted statewide significance in 2003 by the State Historic Preservation Office. A restored inn also will offer public uses and benefits. The study by the Development Finance Initiative of the UNC School of Government expects that the restoration of the building would lead to an increase in jobs, vibrancy and the town’s tax base, in addition to preserving a significant historic structure.
If the town acquires the property, will taxpayers pay for the renovations?
If the property is acquired, the town plans to transfer title of the property to a public-private partnership, following suggestions similar to those outlined in the Development Finance Initiative’s study. The town would recover the acquisition cost from the partnership or could consider some (or all) of the cost paid to acquire the property as a grant to the partnership. The public-private partnership would pay for the renovations to the former inn. The results of very modest investments by the town should be net positive to the citizens of the town, county and state.
Under what authority did the town file eminent domain action?
The rationale for our action was to prevent demolition of a historic structure and to provide public use of the property, which can include museum space, education and other uses to be worked out with a public-private partnership that takes over ownership of the property. Eminent domain actions are authorized for these purposes in Chapter 40A of the N.C. General Statutes. The town exercised this authority after thoughtful exploration of all other alternatives.
Why hasn't the town bought the property?
The town is not in the business of owning and operating real estate. It took steps to enforce ordinances for avoiding demolition by neglect, protecting a cultural asset threatened with destruction, providing minimum housing and providing public safety.
If the former inn is acquired, who will the town select to manage the project?
Applicable statutes authorize the town to convey the property to a not-for-profit corporation with a preservation agreement or with covenants to ensure the property’s historic character is preserved. If the former inn is acquired, the town will turn the property over to a professional and inclusive group that will include local guidance (via a nonprofit group formed to save the former inn), as well as preservation funding and technical experts (Preservation North Carolina — a private, nonprofit, statewide historic preservation organization). The town envisions an inclusive process that will include crowdsourcing and other avenues for public participation; public uses and benefits from the restored inn; and professional and financial resources from local, state and national levels.
How can I help?
Preservation North Carolina will accept tax-deductible donations for the stabilization and restoration of the former Colonial Inn. Preservation North Carolina, founded in 1939, promotes and protects the buildings and landscapes of our state’s diverse heritage.
The Historic Preservation Foundation of North Carolina Inc.
PO Box 27644
Raleigh, NC 27611-7644
What is the historical significance of the former Colonial Inn?
The building at 153 W. King St. dates to 1838 and has been an integral part of Hillsborough’s downtown landscape. It is a contributing structure in Hillsborough’s historic district and is listed in the National Register of Historic Places. The structure was granted “statewide significance” in November 2003 by the State Historic Preservation Office.
The following information is included in the Hillsborough Historic District Inventory of 2006:
The building at 153 W. King St. — a two-story, seven-bay, double-pile frame building with attached two-story piazza — has an illustrious and complex history. Evidence surrounding the building dates it to 1838 despite local lore that it was built in 1759, according to local historian Mary Claire Engstrom, who conducted extensive research in the 1960s. The site’s vacant lot was purchased in 1803 by Henry Shutt, who then built a house in which he lived and operated a hatters shop. The lot was offered to public sale in 1820. Several inns surrounded the lot on which the former Colonial Inn stands, which may explain the confusion in dates. The building’s original portion — the present lobby and east dining room — was built by Isaiah Spencer in 1838. It has two huge chimneys of Flemish bond on the east end. The interior was remodeled around 1900. The original building was known locally as Spencer’s Tavern but advertised as the Orange Hotel. The inn kept the name Orange for 50 years; later names include the Occoneechee Hotel (1888-1908), Corbinton Inn (1908-1946), and The Colonial Inn (1946-present). Richison Nichols purchased the inn from Spencer, apparently in 1888, and was responsible for constructing the piazza flush with West King Street. The piazza features paired, chamfered posts and a sawnwork upper balustrade. In 1889, David C. Parks combined lots 15 and 18 to incorporate the Occoneechee Inn with the Parks-Richmond house, making a hotel complex. During his ownership, Parks hired Jules Korner, an eccentric designer from Kernersville, N.C., to update his buildings. Korner changed the window frames and doors on all three buildings associated with the hotel: the inn, the Parks-Richmond house, and Twin Chimneys across the street. Korner probably also added the paired eave brackets to the inn. In 1908, a large two-story wing was added to the west side by owner Thomas A. Corbin.
Note: Structures in the historic district are identified as “contributing” or “non-contributing” based on their date of construction and their level of historic integrity. Contributing resources were constructed during the historic district's period of significance — circa 1754 to 1963 — and retain sufficient integrity of design, setting, materials and workmanship to contribute to the historic character of the district.
What does the designation ‘Statewide Significance’ mean?
The State Historic Preservation Office designates structures of importance to North Carolina history and requires authorization from the local historic district commission for those structures to be demolished.
The designation allows the Hillsborough Historic District Commission to deny applications for demolition of such structures indefinitely. Prior to a 1989 amendment of General Statute 160A-400.14, a local preservation commission could deny a certificate of appropriateness for the demolition of a locally designated landmark or property within a locally designated historic district for a maximum of one year. If no preservation solution for the property was negotiated within that time frame, the applicant could proceed with the demolition. For more information on the statewide significance designation, see the State Historic Preservation Office’s website.
The former Colonial Inn building was granted statewide significance in 2003.
Can the former Colonial Inn building be restored?
Yes, according to preservation experts. The testimony of experts at the Aug. 6, 2014, meeting of the Hillsborough Historic District Commission indicates the former Colonial Inn building is a good candidate for restoration and reuse.
The testimony was provided during the meeting in which the commission reviewed and denied a Certificate of Appropriateness request from the owner to demolish the building. View the meeting minutes to learn the thoughts of experts regarding restoration of the former inn.
As a contributing structure in the National Register of Historic Places, federal historic tax credits may be available for restoration and rehabilitation work to the property at 153 W. King St. Contact the State Historic Preservation Office for information about historic tax credits.
Any significant changes to the exterior of a builiding in the historic district require obtaining a Certificate of Appropriateness from the Hillsborough Historic District Commission. See the question “Can changes be made to the former Colonial Inn building?”
The current owner has made four applications to the Historic District Commission to modify the building:
- In August 2007, an application for a Certificate of Appropriateness to demolish the rear addition and to replace the roof with a standing-seam metal was approved but has not been acted upon.
- In August 2010, an application for a Certificate of Appropriateness to demolish the kitchen area and replace it with a two-story building in the same footprint was withdrawn by the owner.
- In 2011, an application for a Certificate of Appropriateness to demolish the kitchen area and build a patio was discussed at three Historic District Commission meetings and denied in October of that year.
- In 2014, the owner applied for a Certificate of Appropriateness to demolish the building.
What is the zoning of the former Colonial Inn?
The property is zoned for residential use, and this zoning has never been changed. When the town established the use of zones, the property was zoned residential with the former hotel and restaurant grandfathered in as nonconforming uses. The allowance of nonconforming uses ceases when properties no longer are used in such capacities for an extended time.
Several uses other than residential could be allowed or restored via a conditional use permit or by rezoning. Since 2002, when the building was acquired by its current owner, changes in town ordinances have expanded the potential permitted uses of the building.
What is the zoning history of the former Colonial Inn?
The property originally was zoned residential with the former hotel and restaurant grandfathered in as nonconforming uses. The zoning has never changed.
The property is zoned R20. This is a residential zoning district with a 20,000-square-foot minimum lot size and a 100-foot minimum lot width. The former inn’s lot is larger than the minimum requirement. Because of this, it is considered a conforming lot and standard setbacks apply regarding the distance of the structure from the property line. The setbacks associated with the R20 district are: 30 feet in front; 20 feet on sides; and 20 feet in rear. The maximum building height is 45 feet. See more information on setbacks below in the question “The structure of the former Colonial Inn is located within areas designated as setbacks by its zoning. What does this mean for someone who owns the property?”
When the building was operated as an inn and restaurant, it was considered a legal nonconforming use of property. The commercial use was allowed to continue since it predated the town’s zoning ordinance. When the structure ceased to operate as an inn for 180 consecutive days, it lost its legal nonconforming status. Commercial uses of the property could be restored through a conditional use permit process or rezoning. To use the current structure at 153 W. King St. for anything other than a single family dwelling, a formal permit review or rezoning process will be necessary.
In September 2007, the current owner requested that the property be rezoned to “central commercial,” contending that the rezoning of the property in 1986 to residential without non-conforming uses was a mistake. A protest petition was filed by adjoining property owners. Under state law, neighbors of a proposed rezoning may file a protest petition when they receive notice of a rezoning request. If the petition meets the standards of state law, the governing board may approve a rezoning request only with a supermajority vote. In Hillsborough, that would be the approval of four of five commissioners.
The town conducted a public hearing in October 2007 in which testimony indicated that the 1986 rezoning was a conscious choice by the town. In November 2007, the Hillsborough Planning Board recommended denial of the owner’s rezoning request. The board indicated that the residential zoning was not a mistake and that the town’s conditional use permit process to allow non-residential uses in historic homes provides an option for non-residential uses but also protects historic buildings against demolition. The former inn dates to 1838 and has received a designation of statewide significance. The Hillsborough Board of Commissioners met with the owner in January 2008 to discuss the rezoning request, and the owner verbally withdrew the request. The 2007 request is the only application that has been filed since 2002 regarding use of the property.
What uses could be permitted for the former Colonial Inn?
Many changes have been made to the town’s ordinances and plans since the former inn was sold in 2002, expanding the options that exist for the use of the building. During an update to the Future Land Use Plan, the Colonial Inn property was updated from Urban Neighborhood to Town Center to make more rezoning options available and to ease the process of redeveloping the site. Options for the property include:
- The building could be renovated as a single-family dwelling. The ordinance allows a single-family dwelling to have an efficiency apartment provided that the square footage of the efficiency is not more than 25 percent of the primary dwelling’s size. This option could be exercised as a matter of right. No land use permits and approvals would be required, but a Certificate of Appropriateness would be required for any exterior changes.
- The property owner could apply for a conditional use permit to operate a bed and breakfast facility, a rooming/board house or a number of other non-residential uses in a historic house. This would require a detailed application, professionally prepared plans of how the site would be used and documentation of compliance with specific requirements in the town ordinances. The process for a conditional use permit takes about 60 days and costs $800.
- The owner could apply for a rezoning to Central Commercial District and apply for a special use permit to operate as an event center or a variety of other uses. A rezoning and special use permit also require a detailed application and professionally prepared drawings. The process takes about four months, and the application fee is $1,200.
Both the conditional and special use permit processes allow an applicant to seek waivers from specific ordinance requirements, such as allowing the parking requirement to be accommodated by nearby public parking.
The permitted uses for the R20 residential zoning district are listed in Table 5.1.5 of the Unified Development Ordinance. The majority of uses allowed in R20 are residential or compatible in residential areas.
How could rezoning be sought for the former Colonial Inn?
Individual properties generally are rezoned at the request of a property owner, often as part of a plan to develop a property. Rezoning a property is commonly referred to as a “zoning change” or a “zoning map amendment.” It requires staff review, a public hearing, a recommendation from the Hillsborough Planning Board, and action from the Hillsborough Board of Commissioners. Public hearings are scheduled quarterly. The length of the review process for rezoning depends on the scale and scope of the particular project, but a review commonly takes three to six months.
Detailed information about rezoning properties in Hillsborough can be found in Section 3.6 of the Unified Development Ordinance. Applications and checklists are available in the ordinance’s administrative manual. Some information is below:
Rezoning and the Future Land Use Plan
The Unified Development Ordinance states that before amending the town’s official zoning map, the Board of Commissioners must find that the requested amendment is not inconsistent with the town’s adopted comprehensive plan. The Comprehensive Plan is a series of adopted plans, including the Future Land Use Plan. The Future Land Use Plan includes the property of the former Colonial Inn in the “Town Center” land use category. The Town Center category incorporates the historic structures, civic uses, commercial opportunities, and active pedestrian environment that are the downtown core of Hillsborough. The core commercial areas are to be preserved and enhanced over the long term and should provide mixed use opportunities that combine second-floor residential units with ground-floor commercial, office or institutional uses. Zoning districts that are allowed in the Town Center category include: the R20 residential district; Office Institutional; Central Commercial; and Central Commercial Special Use. Information about the Future Land Use Plan and associated map can be found on the town website.
‘Central Commercial’ and ‘Central Commercial Special Use’ Zoning Districts
It is possible that an applicant may want to pursue a rezoning of the former Colonial Inn property to “central commercial” or “central commercial special use.”
The Central Commercial District is intended to encourage the urban form and character found in the traditional downtown area and to promote redevelopment that will make the historic core a more diverse and vibrant mixed-use center. The district is intended to accommodate a well-balanced mix of uses — commercial, office, service and residential uses — within the town’s historic central core. The Central Commercial District is a general purpose district in which all uses listed as “P” in the permitted use table of the Unified Development Ordinance are permitted by right. The Board of Commissioners cannot apply conditions or limitations to uses in this type of zoning, which makes the zoning more difficult to obtain.
The Central Commercial Special Use District is intended for land uses permitted in the Central Commercial District in which special consideration is warranted by the project and/or in which special conditions may apply due to the project’s distinct nature and any impacts it may have on adjacent properties and the town. The special use zoning district requires the submittal of a detailed special use permit application along with the rezoning request. The special use permit application would detail the exact use the applicant wants for the site and exactly how the site would be modified to accomplish the use and to comply with the Unified Development Ordinance. The Board of Commissioners can attach conditions to the approval of a special use permit, tailoring the permit to each situation. Special use rezonings with a special use permit are more costly from an application preparation standpoint, but they provide for more detailed discussion about the potential site use as well as more certainty for all parties. Section 3.8 of the Unified Development Ordinance sets forth the information to be submitted with applications for special use permits and states the standards by which each application will be judged.
The structure of the former Colonial Inn is located within areas designated as setbacks by its zoning. What does this mean for someone who owns the property?
The lot at 153 W. King St. is considered a conforming lot because of its size, which meets the minimum requirement for the residential zoning district R20. The structure on the lot, however, is classified as a nonconforming structure because sections of the building are located within the setbacks (the distance between a structure and its property line) required by the Hillsborough Unified Development Ordinance. A structure that is nonconforming — due to noncompliance with one or more requirements in Section 6.3: Dimensional Requirements of the ordinance — may remain provided that:
- Any structural change to the structure does not increase the degree of nonconformity. Structural changes that decrease or do not affect the degree of nonconformity are permitted.
Reconstruction would be allowed for:
- A nonconforming commercial or industrial structure or portion that is damaged by causes other than the intentional or reckless acts of the property owner or an authorized agent to an extent which the cost to repair does not exceed 50 percent of the structure’s taxable value. Otherwise, the structure may not be reconstructed except in accordance with all requirements established by the Unified Development Ordinance for the zoning district in which it is situated.
- Up to 50 percent of a structure’s taxable value if the nonconforming residential structure or a portion is destroyed.
See the Hillsborough Unified Development Ordinance Section 7: Nonconformities regarding “nonconforming structures” on Page 7-4.
Can changes be made to the former Colonial Inn building?
Changes may be made with approval from the Hillsborough Historic District Commission. The structure at 153 W. King St. is a contributing building in the Hillsborough Historic District and in the National Register of Historic Places. Additional regulations apply for any exterior change to a property or site in the Historic District.
Section 3.12.2 of the Hillsborough Unified Development Ordinance states, “Within the Historic District, it shall be unlawful to begin construction, moving, demolition, alteration, or restoration of any structure or site until a Certificate of Appropriateness has been issued.” The Hillsborough Historic District Commission is responsible for issuing certificates of appropriateness.
Among other factors, the commission considers the general scale, design, arrangement, texture, material, and color of the building, structure or site in question and the relation of such factors to similar features of buildings in the immediate vicinity or buildings of a similar architectural style or age in the Historic District. The commission does not consider the interior arrangement, nor does it make any requirements except for the purpose of preventing developments that are obviously incongruous to the historic character of the district. The commission relies on the standards and guidelines laid out in the Hillsborough Historic District Design Guidelines, a report adopted and incorporated in the Unified Development Ordinance.
Below are additional considerations for changes:
- Building permits — issued through the Orange County Planning and Inspections Department. Contact the department at 919-245-2600 for information about building permits and the N.C. Building Code.
- Additional regulations — depending on the type of inquiry and redevelopment proposal, additional state and county imposed regulations may apply. The Orange County Planning and Inspections Department offers predevelopment meetings that include staff from various agencies. Contact the department at 919-245-2600 for information about predevelopment meetings.
Why is a fence being erected around the building?
An insurance provider has required the building’s owners to erect fencing around the perimeter of the building in order to continue coverage. Under an agreement with the town, the fence must:
- be removed after one year or within 30 days of the property being sold or insurance lapsing;
- be dark green or black in color;
- not be taller than 6 feet;
- prevent public access to the front porch but leave the sidewalk open for public use;
- be maintained by the owner.