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.
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!
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.
IMPORTANT DATES AND TIMES:
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.
- 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
- Cleaning exterior surfaces with abrasive methods
- Cornice changes
- Masonry work
- Material replacement
- New construction
- Removal of architectural details
- 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.
- Proportion of building front facades
- Rhythm of building
- Architectural details
- Roof lines
- APPENDIX A: Current Historic Districts
- APPENDIX B: List of all properties located within the proposed HARB: College Heights | Holmes Foster-Highlands
- APPENDIX C: Currently not available in an electronic format
- APPENDIX D: Photos of Holmes-Foster Highlands Historic District (1995 Nomination)
- APPENDIX E: Proposed Historic and Architectural Review Board Ordinance