Our Mission

The mission of the Raleigh Historic Development Commission is to identify, preserve, protect, and promote Raleigh’s historic resources.

Design Guidelines Public Process


The Design Guidelines for Raleigh Historic Districts and Landmarks has been scheduled for a Public Hearing at the evening meeting of the Raleigh City Council on Tuesday, February 7.

At its November 15, 2016 meeting, Raleigh City Council forwarded discussion of the updated Design Guidelines for Raleigh Historic Districts and Landmarksto its Safe, Vibrant and Healthy Neighborhoods Committee. The meeting will be held Tuesday, November 29, 2016 at 5:00 in the Council Chamber. The agenda is the city's website.

The formatted approved draft is available for viewing on the RHDC City page

At the January 19, 2016 meeting the RHDC approved the draft of the Design Guidelines for Raleigh Historic Districts.  The approved draft has been forwarded to City Council for adoption.  See the Design Guidelines Update page to view the draft.


Draft Section 4

Public Comments 

Leimenstoll Presentation

Staff Presentation 

Notes from Tables


Recent concern over new construction in a Raleigh historic overlay district (HOD) has raised the question, "Do the Design Guidelines for Raleigh Historic Districts adequately reflect the community’s standards for historic preservation design review?" At City Council's request, the Raleigh Historic Development Commission (RHDC) will host a facilitated discussion to consider an update to the Design Guidelines, which apply to six local historic overlay districts (Blount Street, Boylan Heights, Capitol Square, Moore Square, Oakwood, and Prince Hall) and 154 Raleigh Historic Landmarks. Additional topics to be discussed are (2) Should the committee structure of the Raleigh Historic Development Commission be revisited?; and (3) How can new residents be made aware that they live in a Raleigh Historic District and what that means for them?
An outside facilitator, having met with a steering committee of individuals representing each of the districts and several landmarks to create a fair an open meeting process, will guide this process.  The first Design Guidelines Community Conversation was held on Monday, September 22 at 6:00 p.m. at the Raleigh Convention Center, Room 302, 500 S. Salisbury Street. The second Design Guidelines Community Conversation will be held on Monday, October 20 at 6:00 p.m. in Venture Hall of the IMAX Building at Marbles Kids Museum, 201 E. Hargett Street.

September 22 Community Conversation

September 22 Agenda

Pratt Cassity, Director of the Center for Community Design and Preservation at the University of Georgia and trainer for the National Alliance of Preservation Commissions (NAPC), presented information on historic districts. Jo Leimenstoll, faculty in the Department of Interior Architecture at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, and author of the Design Guidelines for Raleigh Historic Districts, attended the public meeting to evaluate the community’s input for the preparation of recommendations, which will be reviewed at a second public meeting.

October 20 Community Conversation


The second meeting was held on Monday, October 20 at 6:00 p.m. in Venture Hall in the IMAX Building of Marbles Kids Museum. Ms. Leimenstoll presented her recommended updates to the Design Guidelines, and the community has an opportunity to respond. The final draft Guidelines will be reviewed by the commission, which will form a recommendation to City Council. Council will adopt final Design Guidelines per City Code.

Public input is requested and encouraged in this community process.

Note: The current Design Guidelines were adopted in 2001. In 2010, the City of Raleigh and the Raleigh Historic Development Commission received a federal Historic Preservation Fund grant to review and update the Design Guidelines. More about this project may be learned here. The Design Guidelines have been delayed in being approved by City Council due to the work load in the City Attorney's office due to the drafting and adoption of Raleigh's new Unified Development Code.
Are you in a local Raleigh Historic Overlay District (HGOD), and thus regulated by the Certificate of Appropriateness (COA) process, which utilizes the Design Guidelines? Find out here.

Preparatory Documents

Current Design Guidelines:

Additions and New Construction (corrected)

Appendix (Special Character Essays)

Design Guidelines Proposed by 2012 Design Guidelines Review Group:

Additions and New Construction (corrected)

Prince Hall Special Character Essay

Bios, Consultants

Feedback Received at 9/22 Meeting

Submission of Recommendations for Specific Text Amendments to the Design Guidelines

The intent of the September 22 meeting was to encourage a broad conversation about the community's perspective on appropriate new construction and additions in historic overlay districts. A Design Guidelines professional has been retained to observe and make recommendations on how to improve the Design Guidelines in response to the community's discussion. Please note that specific language for text amendments are not encouraged at this point in the process.

That being said, suggestions for text amendment were accepted in the following format.

  • Submit suggestions for specific amendments to the text at the September 22 meeting, to be received by the Design Guidelines consultant. 
  • Include contact information (phone and email) so that the consultant may follow up if necessary. If the submission represents the opinion of a group, please identify the members of the group for the purpose of transparency.

Recommendations Received



The September 22 event was recorded by Raleigh Television Network. The keynote address is available for viewing here.

Historic Overlay Districts (HODs)

Oberlin Village was designated a General Historic Overlay District (HOD-G) on February 6, 2018.  READ MORE