Historic District Guidelines



Historic District Guidelines


When an Application Is Required:
Application for Certificate of Appropriateness must be secured for change of land use
and for all alterations, restoration, moving, demolition or construction involving change
of exterior appearance. This includes, but is not limited to, change of roof materials,
siding, chimneys, porches, fences, signs, windows, doors, outdoor lighting, garages,
ground-mounted equipment, solar arrays, outbuildings, barns, and landscaping, even
though a building permit is not required. Routine repairs and painting that do not alter
the present design or materials do not require a certificate.

The following guidelines do not anticipate all possible proposed changes. Unique
situations will have to be evaluated by the Commission and the decisions concerning
them will be made with these guidelines in mind.
These guidelines will be applied to buildings as follows:
1. Existing Buildings : All additions and exterior changes will be considered on an
individual basis with emphasis on harmony with existing buildings and their
2. New Construction : The exterior of the building is to be consistent with the scale
of and in balance with existing buildings.
1. Architectural Style : The architecture and proportions of the structure shall be
consistent with those buildings within the district.
2. Siding : Siding shall be wood clapboards or wood shingles. On outbuildings
vertical wood or board and batten siding may be used, as well as either of the
3. Color : Paint colors to be appropriate to the period of the building.
4. Roof : Rooflines and roofing material shall be consistent with the roof and roofing
of the buildings existing in the district.
5. Windows : Arrangement, style and size of the windows shall be compatible with
the windows of the buildings within the district. If storm windows and storm doors
are aluminum, white anodized is preferable.
6. Shutters : If proposed, wooden shutters are preferred and shall be of proper size,
i.e. would cover the window if closed. Vinyl, acrylic or polystyrene shutters are not
7. Doors : Size and style shall conform to that of existing buildings within the district.
8. Chimneys : Chimneys shall be brick or brick faced. Stucco chimneys will be
considered upon application.
9. Porches : Porch construction shall conform to existing porches and shall be in
harmony with the structure to which it is attached.
10. Garages : Garages shall relate architecturally to the building they will serve.

1. Fences and Walls : Fences facing the Main Street shall be no higher than 4 feet and
shall be set back 2 feet from the property line and 25 feet from the centerline of the
road. Fences shall be of white picket, other wood construction or wrought iron.
Post and rail fencing may be used on side and back property lines. Stone walls
and hedges can be considered.
2. Signs : Permanent signs shall not exceed 6 square feet in size. All signs shall be
hung in a manner consistent with the district. Dark letters on a white (or light)
background are preferred. Use of a commercial trademark or device is
discouraged. Any other proposed signage design must be presented to the
Committee for approval. Lighting of exterior signs is not desirable, but will be
considered upon showing of hardship. Signs shall be limited to 3 per business, 2
directional 6” x 36” and one sign not more than 6 square feet at the site of the
business. In the case of temporary signs the Commission will have the discretion
to regulate sign dimension, appearance and location.
3. Outdoor Lighting : incandescent lighting is to be used. Area lighting is not
4. Ground-Mounted Equipment : Includes but is not limited to, Air-conditioner
condensers, generators, heat exchangers, and satellite dishes. All equipment and
associated conduit shall be installed in an unobtrusive location and screened to
prevent visibility from the street, with either fencing, planting or both.
5. Solar : All solar panel installations must be considered on a case by case basis
recognizing that the best option will depend on the characteristics of the property
under consideration. The objective is to preserve the character-defining features
and historic fabric while accommodating the need for solar access. Installations
shall not alter the features and spaces that characterize the property. The removal
of historic materials that characterize the property shall be avoided. Free standing
panels shall be kept out of sight from the Main Street.
6. Landscaping : Where changes of ground level is required for the installation of
foundations, septic systems, etc., appropriate fill and grading is required to make
the altered area conform to its surroundings.
7. Recreational Facilities : Tennis courts, swimming pools, etc., will be considered
upon application. Primary consideration will be given to abutter opinion and
degree of public visibility.
8. Land Use : It is in the interest of the Town and of the Historic District to encourage
the continuance of land uses that are appropriate to the area and which involve no
alteration to a structure.
● Exceptions to the above based on hardship may be considered and granted by the

The Commission is composed of seven (7) members appointed by the Board of
Selectmen for staggered three year terms. One member shall be a member of the Board
of Selectmen and not less than four (4) members shall be residents of the Historic
District. A quorum shall consist of four (4) members, except that a lesser number may
adjourn any legally called meeting to a later date, giving public notice of the
1. Meetings : The Commission shall meet on the third Tuesday of each month in the
Town Hall or by Zoom at 5:30 p.m. Three consecutive or six total unexcused
absences is cause for removal from the Commission. Emergency meetings may
be convened on request of the Chairman or three members of the Commission. All
meetings are to be conducted with the reference of the Right to Know Law RSA
2. Applications and Fees : Applications for Certificates of Appropriateness shall be
made on application forms available from the Selectman’s Office. For
consideration at a scheduled meeting of the Commission, the application must be
filed with the secretary or designated agent of the Board of Selectmen at least
fifteen (15) days before the date of that meeting. Copies of plans or sketches or
drawings shall accompany applications. Fees in the amount of $3.00 per abutter
may be required for any major reconstruction, new construction, or exterior
construction at the discretion of the Historic District Commission.
3. Commission findings : The Commission shall notify the applicant (and the building
inspector/selectmen) of its decision within a reasonable period of time, not to
exceed 45 days and, in the event of a negative decision, shall furnish a copy of its
decision with reasons. If the applicant brings in professional consultants, the cost
for such consultants shall be borne by the applicant. Further, if the Commission
has to retain professional consultants, the cost for such consultants shall be
borne by the applicant.
4. Appeals : Appeals may be made to the Sandwich Board of Adjustment and must be
filed within 30 days of a decision by the Commission.
5. Enforcement : Enforcement shall be through the provisions of the Zoning
Ordinance of the Town of Sandwich and shall be enforced by the Selectmen. In
case of a conflict with the Zoning Ordinance, the more stringent ordinance

February, 1983
June 1984
September 12, 1989
December 15, 1992
April 18, 1995
April 17, 2001
August 19, 2014
November 17, 2020

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Mailing: PO Box 194, Center Sandwich, NH 03227
Phone:  603-284-7701

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