Historic and Architectural Review Board

What is a HARB?

The Historical Architectural Review Board (HARB) is the body created to oversee regulated activities within historic districts. The HARB historic districts protect the quality of the architecture in the districts. These historic homes enhance the quality-of-life for residents, and provide a rich experience for heritage tourists. A HARB district is created to safeguard architectural heritage by establishing a thoughtful review process for all changes to the exterior of buildings in order to prevent hasty or inappropriate alterations or demolition. New construction and alterations are assessed according to how the proposed change will affect the appearance of a building or overall character of the street, and whether significant architectural features will be hidden, damaged or lost.

HARBs are made up of seven individuals appointed by Council to review all applications for new construction, demolition, and exterior alterations to buildings within the historic district.

Members of the HARB include:

  • One registered architect
  • One licensed real estate broker
  • One Building Code Inspector
  • The remaining four members are citizens who own property or live within the historic district

When is a HARB review necessary?

  • Additions
  • Alterations
  • Cleaning exterior surfaces with abrasive methods
  • Cornice changes
  • Fences
  • Lighting
  • Masonry work
  • Material replacement
  • New construction
  • Reconstruction
  • Removal of architectural details
  • Roofing
  • Shutters
  • Siding
  • Storm doors and windows
  • Window changes/replacement

Borough of State College Historic Districts


How do I apply for a HARB review?

To discuss your proposed changes, call and make an appointment to meet with a staff member of the Planning Department. You will be advised by staff whether a HARB review is required and what documents you will need to provide.

If a review is required, you must complete a Certification of Appropriateness Application. For the application, you will have to describe your proposal in detail and submit current photographs of the neighboring properties, your property, as well as dimensional plans or drawings of the proposed changes to your property.

How will the items be reviewed by the HARB?

The focus of the review will be:
  • Proportion of building front facades
  • Scale
  • Rhythm of building
  • Materials
  • Textures
  • Architectural details
  • Roof lines

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