If you own or plan to purchase real estate in the New Orleans area, there is a good chance it will be located in one of the city’s 17 local Historic Districts. The New Orleans and Central Business District Historic District Landmarks Commissions (HDLC) regulate changes to the exteriors of properties located in these Historic Districts in an effort to preserve the city’s architectural and cultural heritage. Therefore, it is important for property owners to understand HDLC’s requirements and procedures if they have any plans to change the exterior of their home or building.
The Preservation Resource Center (PRC) recently partnered with HDLC to provide a free course that outlines these requirements and procedures for the public.
About the Navigating the HDLC Course
The “Navigating the HDLC” Course covers the following important topics for buyers and property owners renovating their homes and buildings:
- How to determine whether your property is in a Historic District and what level of HDLC review applies in each Historic District
- How to collect information about your property in order to provide HDLC with the information necessary for HDLC to review your project, including how to determine your building type, architectural style and building rating
- How to use HDLC’s Design Guidelines to plan a project that is likely to obtain approval by HDLC
- The procedure for applying to HDLC for project approval, the requirements for a successful application, the various levels of review by HDLC staff, the Architectural Review Committee and the Commissions, and approval and inspection procedures required to obtain a Certificate of Occupancy
The more information property owners and prospective purchasers have about the HDLC requirements related to their property, the better informed they will be about the value of the property in light of the viability of and time and expense associated with future renovation plans.
For example, HDLC only regulates “demolition” in certain Historic Districts, such as Uptown, but “demolition” is defined as “structural removal of more than 50% of the exterior wall area,” “removal of more than 50% of the roof structure,” or “structural removal of more than 25% of the primary façade.” Therefore, if you plan to buy and significantly renovate an Uptown home, you may need to obtain approval from HDLC even if you are not demolishing the entire home. This will likely result in delays and costs that might not arise if HDLC review was not required.
The “Navigating the HDLC” Course is held 10 times per year and is free and open to the public.