Historic properties are valuable for their quality of construction, architectural detail, and sense of connection with the neighborhood and larger community. They are reflections of their period of design and also of the occupants who lived in them. The important balance is saving the historic details that make these properties distinctive while carefully updating the building to accommodate continued use. Although ‘modernize’ is frequently used, it is better to adapt an older building to current needs – otherwise what made it special and old is lost.
The most commonly requested alterations to historic properties are for roofs, windows, and exterior cladding or siding. Although new products continually come onto the market, the design guidelines for the historic districts ensure that historically compatible materials are used on properties. Generally vinyl is not permitted for use in windows or fences. Although increasing in popularity, metal roofs are only consistent in design with certain styles of buildings – for example, a metal roof would never be found on a Mission or Spanish Colonial style house.
Listed below are the most common requests asked of staff regarding alterations:
|I want to install a metal roof||Yes, if the home is a Craftsman, bungalow, or frame vernacular.||Sorry, but a metal roof would not work on a
midcentury, Ranch, or Spanish Revival (Mission, Mediterranean, or Colonial) style house.
|I want to change out my original windows.||Staff recommends repairing original wood windows, as it is more cost effective and adds character to your home. If you have a midcentury home, you can replicate jalousie or awning windows with new windows.||If said windows are beyond repair, staff recommends replacement in-kind with aluminum impact products. Midcentury properties should replicate the look of jalousie or awning windows with single-hung, single-pane casement, or horizontal sliders.|
|I want to install horizontal slider windows.||Horizontal slider windows may be appropriate for some midcentury properties, or new construction depending on the architectural style.||For most pre-war houses, horizontal slider windows are not visually compatible. Depending on the architectural style, single or double-hung sash windows or casements are a better fit.|
|I want to upgrade my driveway.||In historic districts, brick paver material, concrete driveway ribbons, and poured slab driveways are traditional.||Loose gravel or crushed shell is increasingly popular, but scatters onto sidewalks and streets. Such material is only allowed for side yards beyond the front 25’ setback.|
|I have a flat concrete tile roof – can I install shingle?||Staff recommends replacement in-kind. Flat concrete tile is a durable and long-lasting product common on midcentury homes.||Shingle replacement would be approved for cases of economic hardship.|
|I have a barrel tile roof – why can’t I install an S-tile material?||Although barrel and S-tile look similar, the overall rhythm of placement and vertical profile is different.||Staff recommends replacement in-kind. S-tile can be great for new construction.|
|I want to install a fence – what is permissible?||Within historic districts, staff recommends wood board, wood picket, or aluminum. In some cases, chain link may be used in the sides and rear if screened by vegetation.||Vinyl and composite material fences are not permitted for use within historic districts. In some cases, they may be permitted as material used for sea wall construction.|
|I want vinyl siding/windows/fencing material…||Although advertised as a ‘maintenance-free’ material, no such thing exists.||The quality of plastic material has improved over time but it still does not meet the higher design standards of our historic districts.|
Questions involving pools and equipment setback requirements should contact the planner-on-call at (561) 822-1461.
General guidance for designing additions:
- Should be located away from the primary façade
- New spaces should be smaller than the main house
- Use score lines or hyphens to attach to primary structure, differentiating new and old
- Re-using or removing non-historic additions can often accommodate a better design
- Should not destroy historic materials or disrupt the original design
Both subjects are covered in the Zoning & Land Development Regulations, Sec. 94-49 - Certificate of appropriateness procedures for review.