The City of Laurel is committed to its core value of community safety and is proactively taking steps to limit potential social spreading of COVID-19. To accommodate social distancing recommendations, we are offering many services remotely.
Anyone wishing to apply for a zoning application with the City of Laurel must create an online account. Please visit our ePermits page for more information and to access the RAP permits Eportal to create your account. https://www.cityoflaurel.org/permits/permits/epermits
All fees are due at the time of submission. Fees are non-refundable, regardless of the outcome of a case. Every application must be accompanied by the appropriate plans, rendering, statements and other documents. If the applicant is not the owner for the property in question, a letter from the property owner acknowledging and consenting to the actions proposed MUST be provided with the application. BE SURE TO INCLUDE A COPY OF THE HDC APPLICATION WITH YOUR ONLINE SUBMITTAL IN THE ATTACHMENTS SECTION, ALONG WITH PHOTOS OF YOUR PROJECT.
Appointment Only- For an in-person meeting, please call the Historic District Coordinator to schedule an appointment at 301-725-5300 x2303
***ALL EXTERIOR WORK SEEN FROM PUBLIC RIGHT OF WAY NEEDS COMMISSION REVIEW AND APPROVAL***
NEXT HISTORIC DISTRICT HEARING: SEPTEMBER 20, 2022 AT 6:00 P.M.
HARD DEADLINE TO APPLY FOR THE NEXT HEARING: AUGUST 25, 2022 BY 5:00 P.M.
THERE IS NO AUGUST HDC HEARING!
****LAST MINUTE CHANGES TO YOUR APPLICATION WILL NOT BE ACCEPTED AND MAY DELAY WHEN YOUR APPLICATION IS REVIEWED ****
TABLE OF CONTENTS
- The City of Laurel Historic District Commission
- The Historic District
- How to apply
- Do you qualify for a staff approval
- What do you need to apply
- The approval procedure
- The roles of the Commission and staff
- Historic District Survey
- Contributing or Non-contributing
- What does ownership of a Historic District property mean
- Unified Land Development Code- Historic District Commission
- Tax Credit
(HDC) was established in 1975 to promote the preservation of Laurel's historic sites and buildings in order to safeguard the heritage of the City's built environment. The Commission's authority is derived from the Land Use Article of the Annotated Code of Maryland and Article I, Division 13 of the City of Laurel Unified Land Development Code. To that end, the Commission is empowered to hold public hearings for the purpose of reviewing architectural and design elements for buildings in the Historic District and granting certificates of approval in accordance with the City of Laurel Historic District Commission Design Guidelines (Art. I, Div. 14, City of Laurel Land Development Code
The City of Laurel Historic District consists of seven individual, but contiguous districts as established in Sec. 11-2 of the City of Laurel Municipal Code. Located in the northernmost part of the City, all of these districts fall under the design review authority of the Historic District Commission. Click here for a link to the Maryland Association of Historic District. There you can find helpful resources such as contractor information, design guidelines and much more! https://mahdc.org/
The Commission normally meets monthly. ***We are currently holding all meetings virtual through Zoom***
The Public is welcome and encouraged to attend, but will need to sign up to speak here: https://www.cityoflaurel.org/clerk/meetings
Please check the deadline dates or with our staff, if you have a certificate application you would like to submit for the next Historic District Commission meeting
There are a few ways:
- Use the online epermits system (see link at top of this page)
- Email your application and all supporting documents to [email protected]
- Mail in your application to 8103 Sandy Spring Road Laurel, MD 20707 Attn: Historic District Commission
- Drop off your application in the drop off box at 8103 Sandy Spring Road Laurel, MD 20707
Its considered "in-kind" only if you meet all of these requirements:
- The COLOR is the same as existing
- The STYLE is the same as existing
- The MATERIAL is the same as existing
- A completed and signed HDC Application
- Current photo or photos of the property
- Site plan of property (needed for driveways, fences, sheds, additions, etc.)
- Structural drawings (needed for new accessory structures such as sheds, garages, carports, porches, etc.
- Architectural drawings (typically needed for new buildings or additions)
- Photo of material samples (for replacement siding, paint, shutters, doors, roof shingles, wood, etc.)
- A completed window questionnaire (for replacement windows)
- A letter stating tree is dying or diseased from tree arborist (for tree removal)
- A sign rendering showing colors and size (for new SIGN requests from Commercial properties)
- Owner permission letter (if you are not the owner of the property)
- If you are unsure what you need to submit, please contact staff at 301-725-5300 Extension 2303
Any change to a structure or property located in the Historic District which is visible from a public right-of-way falls under the purview of the Historic District Commission's design review. This can range from something as simple as repainting a house, installing a fence, or replacing windows to complex projects such as residential additions, posting a sign on Main Street, or building demolitions. Proposed projects which the Commission deems as meeting the criteria of the Design Guidelines are issued a Certificate of Approval, indicating that work may proceed contingent on obtaining any necessary permits. Failure to obtain a Historic District Commission Certificate of Approval can lead to a referral to Code Enforcement Officers for issuance of a municipal infraction.
While certain projects may be approved by staff (i.e. "in-Kind" replacements), most must be presented before the Commission during a public hearing. A HDC Certificate of Approval Application must be submitted to the Department of Economic and Community Development for all proposed projects. In addition to the application, supporting documents and/or items must be submitted which visually conveys: (1) the building or site as it presently exists and (2) as it will appear after the proposed changes. To get on the agenda for a Commission meeting for approval, you must meet the deadline (which is typically a month before). You can check with staff or the deadline dates listed in the link below. Even staff approvals can still take 7-10 business days to process, but are usually done quicker. Additionally, if the work for an approved certificate has not commenced within twelve (12) months of date of approval, the certificate is void, unless a renewal request is received and granted by the Commission. Please be as detailed as possible on your application for the work description. In the event of an emergency repair or replacement is requestsed, an application with photos will still need to be submitted, additionally, an inspection would need to be made by staff before the approval can be granted.
The Commission reviews plans for all exterior alterations to buildings in the historic district, including changes or additions to the rear of the property. If the plans are approved, then the applicant may apply for a building permit. The Commission also sponsors historic site surveys and publications. The staff reviews applications and advises the Commission on matters related to zoning code and design guidelines. The staff also assists property owners in preparing their applications and administers the Certified Local Government program for the Commission.
Although the Commission is the final determinant in the issuance of a HDC Certificate of Approval, their decision is rendered in the context of the Historic District Commission Design Guidelines, as listed in Art. I, Div. 14 of the Unified Land Development Code. These guidelines are intended to allow for variety of choice for individual projects yet still maintain the integrity of the Historic District as a whole.
Historic districts usually include a mix of “contributing” and “non-contributing” resources:
- Contributing resources are houses, churches, commercial structures or other buildings that add to the significance of the district.
- Non-contributing resources do not add to the significance of the district.
- Find out which one your house is on the following link: contributing_and_non_contributing_hdc_addresses.pdf
If you plan to make any exterior changes to your property, you will need to apply for a Certificate of Approval from the preservation commission. And, the proposed changes will need to comply with certain guidelines. Your rehabilitation project could be eligible for certain tax credits at a state level.
Must meet all setbacks and lot coverage requirements based on the property's zoning if the addition increases the gross floor area of the residence by 50% or more, a Special Exception from the Planning Commission and Board of Appeals is required, click below for a chart of that process. Please contact staff for more information.
First, check that the tree is seen from a public right-of-way, if it is not, you do not need HDC approval however, if it is you will need approval. Next, check the Champion Tree list to see if your tree is listed (those trees are more protected). If it is not and you have an arborist report stating the tree is dying, dead or diseased, fill out an application and provide to staff to approve the request (no night meeting required). It will need to be detailed such as if the tree has a disease, what disease does it have? Or if the tree is dead, why is it dead? If you cannot provide an arborist report you will need to fill out an application and attend a night meeting for approval through the Historic District Commission. If the tree is listed on the Champion Tree list you will need HDC approval through a night meeting, no exceptions! The Commission will typically suggest a new tree is planted on the property, but not necessarily in the same spot where the tree is removed. If you removal a tree that needed HDC approval but did not receive approval, you will be fined.
- UNIFIED LAND DEVELOPMENT CODE- CHAPTER 20- LAND DEVELOPMENT & SUBDIVISION- ARTICLE I. ZONING- DIVISION 13- HISTORIC DISTRICT COMMISSION
The City of Laurel offers a tax credit for approved and qualifying EXTERIOR preservation and restoration projects to structures located in the Historic District. Tax credits are for the materials of the work ONLY. Delivery and warranty fees are not included. The amount of the tax credit is ten percent (10%) of the total expense of the approved work, which must conform with the criteria as established by the HDC Certificate of Approval. A HDC Tax Credit Application must be obtained in order to receive a tax credit. For more information contact the Economic and Community Development Department.
An application for tax credit comes after HDC approval for the work. The owner must submit the receipts to the Historic District Coordinator, along with forms affirming that the receipts are those for the actual expenditures. Once the work has been inspected and the receipts verified, the tax credit is submitted to the HDC for final approval. In cases where the owner provides labor, tax credits are based only on the cost of the materials used. The tax credit application must be submitted in a timely manner once the work is completed. Proof of payment includes: Front and back copies of checks, bank statements, credit card receipts, stamped paid invoices with company letterhead.
Please be advised that if you complete the work without approval, you automatically reduce your tax credit to 5% and could potentially be completely denied at the Historic District Commission's discretion.
***There is also a Tax Credit you can apply for through the State of Maryland, separate from the City of Laurel. For more information click below***