Historic and Architectural Review Board

Heritage State College Project

The Borough of State College is embarking on a community-focused education and planning process to consider how two of its most heritage-rich neighborhoods, the Holmes Foster-Highlands and College Heights Historic Districts, could be preserved for future generations. While these neighborhoods are both listed as historic districts in the National Register of Historic Places by the National Park Service, no local regulatory protections exist to promote compatible design for the exteriors of new buildings and alterations to the exteriors of existing buildings in these districts in order to maintain the historic integrity of individual historic structures and the districts as a whole.

  1. Heritage State College Project
  2. What is a HARB?

What is the Heritage State College Project?

The Heritage State College project seeks to engage community members, neighbors and other stakeholders in a process to learn about options for preserving the key, character-defining features of these great neighborhoods. This includes exploring ways to add protection for the districts while still providing flexibility to property owners. This effort will also seek direct community input on the potential for additional protections overall and what neighborhood features are most important to preserve. Based on the input received at a series of workshops and public meetings, the Borough Council will vote on whether or not to pursue a preservation ordinance later this fall. Enactment of this ordinance may require some level of design review and approval for certain types of projects prior to beginning the project. To determine the appropriate path forward to preserving these districts, your involvement is needed!

Borough of State College Historic Districts



Wednesday, September 13, 7 to 9 p.m. | Council/DHRB Workshop 

Thursday, September 14, 7 to 9 p.m | Community Workshop

Tuesday, October 3, 7 to 9 p.m. | Community Workshop

Monday, November 6, 7 to 9 p.m. | Presentation to Council

Would my home be located in the HARB?

The properties listed at the links below are those placed under consideration for HARB review. If your property is not listed, exempt properties include any constructed in the last 10 years.

Click here to view College Heights Historic District Map

Click here to view Holmes-Foster | Highlands Historic District Map

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

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

RFP Appenices

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