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Handbook Clarifies Historic Home Rules

A new handbook is available to Westport’s historic property owners outlining the rules and regulations governing their unique properties. The Historic District Commission will present the newly revised handbook during a public informational meeting, Monday, April 26, 7 p.m., in the Town Hall Auditorium. This is the third edition of the book, which serves as a guiding principle for the Historic District Commission's decisions.

"I think we kept the parts that worked and improved the parts that needed to be tweaked," said Carol Leahy, administrator for the Historic District Commission. Updates include new photos and maps outlining district boundaries. The maps provide more detailed and accurate information than previous manuals due to the town's Geographic Information System. "You can go to a GIS map and see very quickly what properties have historical significance," said Leahy.

The commission hopes the handbook clarifies what Historic District activities are regulated. Remodeling a historic property or new construction within a historic district often requires applications be submitted to the Historic District Commission. The commission generally has no say on the interior of the building but can issue certificates of appropriateness regarding exterior features. Leahy said, "The responsibility of the commission is not to dictate the design, just to make sure it is appropriate."Property owners in the historic districts and landmark properties will receive a copy of the handbook. A digital version is here . The National Park Service, U.S. Department of the Interior and the Connecticut Community Investment Act financed the handbook. For more information about the public information meeting or the Historic District Commission call Leahy at 203-341-1184.

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