Our Mission

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

Design Guidelines Update

Design Guidelines Update

Bringing Raleigh's Design Guidelines Into The 21st Century

After hearing from RHDC and other public commenters, on March 21, 2017 Raleigh City Council voted 5/3 to adopt the updated Design Guidelines for Raleigh Historic Districts and Landmarks. Because the motion did not achieve a three-fourths majority, a second vote was required. On May 2, after a second vote, the updated Design Guidelines were adopted.    

On February 7, 2017 the City Council held a public hearing on the update to the Design Guidelines for Raleigh Historic Districts and Landmarks.  Under discussion was final approval of the document as previously approved by the Raleigh Historic Development Commission (RHDC) and the Planning Commission.  At the hearing, a representative from the Society for the Preservation of Historic Oakwood (SPHO) proposed the addition of two guidelines in the Additions (3.2) and New Construction (3.3) sections of the document. (SPHO Memo) The public hearing was held open to allow for additonal public comment.   

At its regular meeting on February 21, 2017 the RHDC reviewed and voted to recommend to City Council that the updated guidelines be adopted without the SPHO proposed amendment.

At the January 19, 2016 meeting the RHDC approved the draft of the Design Guidelines for Raleigh Historic Districts that combines the 2011 proposed updates and the 2014 proposed updates to the new construction and additions section. This update includes an expanded glossary.  The draft may be viewed here.  Written comments were provided to the commission at the December 15, 2015 RHDC meeting.  


2017 Draft

As approved by RHDC and Planning Commission

2015 Draft

All changes combined.

2014 Draft

Changes to Section 4

2011 Final Draft

Title     Description Size (kb)
Section 4     Additions and New Construction 741.18  
Section 3     Changes to the Building Exterior    1,681.31  
Section 6     Appendixes 397.53  
Section 5     Relocation or Demolition 230.78  
Section 2     Site and Setting 1,533.49  
Section 1     Introduction 347.69  
Foreward     Cover, Credits & Foreward 197.59  

The City of Raleigh has been awarded a federal Historic Preservation Fund grant from the National Park Service for the purpose of updating the Design Guidelines for Raleigh Historic Districts. As the administrator of this project, RHDC seeks input from the community.

Since the last Guidelines update was adopted in 2001, RHDC has identified several key historic preservation issues where the Guidelines do not provide clear direction. For example, for properties located in local historic overlay districts or that are designated Raleigh Historic Landmarks:

  • How do we review post-World War II and Modern (1945-65) architecture?
  • How should new alternative or substitute materials be evaluated?
  • Where do archaeological sites and cemeteries fit in design review?
  • What kind of infill architecture do you want downtown?
  • What would make the guidelines more relevant to individual historic landmarks?
  • What does it mean for the guidelines to embrace sustainability?

RHDC staff is available to discuss the Design Guidelines update; please email us at guidelines@rhdc.org or call 919.832.7238.

Grant Partner: City of Raleigh Historic Cemeteries Advisory Board The City of Raleigh Historic Cemeteries Advisory Board

Update Documents

Historic Overlay Districts (HODs)

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