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Historic Area Commission

All work performed in a Historic District, Residence or Commercial, requires prior approval of the Historic Area Commission and the issuance of a Historic Review Certificate pursuant to Sections 230-51 and 230-52 of the Zoning Ordinance.

Applicants for work to be done in Historic Zoning Districts must submit applications to the Historic Area Commission and obtain the required certificate in addition to obtaining a building permit.

Historic Area Review Committee (HARC) Reports

Historic Area Commission Citizen Information

The Historic District of the City encompasses the area from the Delaware River to and extends to areas of Sixth Street. Homeowners and business owners must seek prior approval of the Historic Area Commission and obtain a Historic Review Certificate, “…prior to any building, structure, premise, sign, use of site being erected, constructed, built, created, reconstructed, moved, altered, added to, converted, or demolished.” (From Section 7 of the City of New Castle Zoning Ordinance.)

The function of the Historic Area Commission is to preserve the historic character of the area using the following guidelines:

  • The historic character of the individual structure and its setting should not be altered.
  • Repair, rather than replacement, is strongly encouraged. When replacement is necessary, the materials used should be consistent with and appropriate to the style and period of the structure.
  • The design and materials used for new additions should be compatible with the architectural character of the existing structure and should be in harmony with neighboring properties and the New Castle area as a whole.
  • New construction should be compatible with neighboring properties and with the New Castle Historic Area.

Using these guidelines, the Historic Area Commission requires that replacement materials be natural, that new brick should be similar in appearance to old brick in New Castle, that stucco finish and colors should be similar in appearance to old work. Siding and trim must be wood and either painted or stained with opaque stain. Windows must be wood and have true divided lights and should have proportions that are traditional. Aluminum storm windows are permitted if the meeting rails align and they are painted to match house trim.

Doors must be wood with a traditional panel pattern appropriate to the building. Storm doors are allowed but must be made of wood. Because of the unique character of the Historic Area, each application is considered on its own merits and decisions are made on a case by case basis.

Further details or requirements are described in the complete document, “City of New Castle Historic Area Guidelines and Standards Handbook”. This information is available in the City Office, in the New Castle City Public Library or on the City’s Web site.

Members of the Commission are available for consultation between meetings or homeowners may come to the meetings of the Historic Area Commission held on the Second Thursday of each month at 6:30 p.m.

The six member Commission is made up of four citizens from the local community, an appointed member of the Planning Commission and a registered architect. For further information about the application procedure, contact the Building Department at 322-9813.