Local Historic Districts

A local historic district is a type of zoning applied by the City Council or the Board of County Commissioners to an area of special significance in terms of its history, prehistory, architecture, and/or culture that possesses integrity of design, setting, materials, feeling, and association (as per NCGS 160A-400.3). Currently Durham has 8 designated local historic districts:

Establishing a District


A local historic district is applied using the same procedures used to change the zoning on a parcel or parcels. Citizens can petition to have a district designated with the signatures of 25% of the property owners within the proposed district. Prior to adoption of the district by the governing body, an investigation and report (Preservation Plan) must be developed describing both the significance of structures, features, and sites, and the boundaries of the district.

After a district is established, a certificate of appropriateness (COA) is required for exterior changes to any property in the district. All of this must be done consistent with North Carolina General Statute 160A-400.4.

The preservation plan for each locally designated historic district is linked above. Local historic districts can be located using the City’s GoMaps mapping program.