Historic Preservation Commission

The Historic Preservation Commission is a five member local body appointed by the Mayor and City Council. Commissioners must be residents of the City of Harlem and are appointed for three year terms. The Commission holds public meetings on requests for material changes to properties within the three historic districts in the City of Harlem and issues Certificates of Appropriateness. The Commission also recommends to Mayor & Council establishment of new historic districts, landmarks, or structures to be designated by ordinance as historic properties or districts. The Commission utilizes the adopted City of Harlem Historic District Residential Design Guidelines and Downtown Harlem Design Guidelines when making a determination of appropriateness for a material change. Unlike the Planning & Zoning Commission, the Historic Preservation Commission is the deciding body for all applications for a Certificate of Appropriateness.

The deadline for submittal is the date that all information needed for an application must be submitted to the City of Harlem Planning & Zoning Department. This deadline insures enough time to notify the public of the pending application via the Columbia County News-Times and at the proposed location. This also gives City of Harlem staff sufficient time to review the request and prepare a recommendation for the Commission to consider. Please click here for submittal dates for all meetings of the Commission.

Information on the current agenda and past agendas is available to the right.

Downloadable copies of the City of Harlem Historic District Residential Design Guidelines and Downtown Design Guidelines are available here. The Historic Preservation Ordinance is available here.

What is a local historic district?

Harlem currently has three local historic districts that were established in March 2008 through a local historic preservation ordinance. The three districts are the Central, Sanders, and Sawdust. The Central district encompasses historic downtown Harlem, the Milledgeville Road commercial corridor, and extends into historic Trippe, Forrest, Hicks, Hatcher, Bell, Boundary, and Verdery streets. The Sanders district is comprised of the historic Harlem cemetery, the City Park, historic Second Mount Moriah Baptist Church, and the historic Sanders house. The Sawdust district encompasses four parcels, including Mount Tabor Baptist Church and the Sawdust Community Store. Overall, the three districts represent 185 locally designated properties. To view a map of the three historic districts and to see if your property is locally designated, please click here.

What is design review?

Property designated by the historic preservation ordinance is subject to design review when modifications that require review are made to the exterior of the property. Interior work and land use are not reviewed by the Commission. For information on what modifications require review by the Commission please click here. Please note that it is highly recommended to speak with Planning & Zoning staff before beginning any work in the districts, even if the work is permitted without review. Staff can offer advice on materials, architectural styles, and many other aspects of historic preservation. If the proposed modifications require review, then the property owner or an agent for the property owner, such as the contractor, will need to apply for a Certificate of Appropriateness from the Commission. A Certificate of Appropriateness is proof that the proposed modifications have been approved by the Commission and are able to proceed. The application will need to be submitted by the above dates to be considered at the next available meeting. Planning & Zoning staff will review your request for modifications against the adopted Design Guidelines, and offer their recommendation to the Commission. The Commission will make the final decision on the modification and if approved, issue a Certificate of Appropriateness. It is highly recommended that you contact Planning & Zoning staff to discuss the project and for guidance on the application process. Please note that starting work before obtaining a building permit and Certificate of Appropriateness is a code violation and will be treated as such. To view the application form for a Certificate of Appropriateness, please click here.

To view a fee schedule for the Commission please click here.

For more information please contact the Planning & Zoning Department at 706-556-0043.

Members of the Commission

Chairman Duane Starrenburg

Vice Chair Mary Campbell

Commissioner Diane Holland

Commissioner Joe Lokey

The Commission meets on the fourth Thursday of every month at 6:30 PM at the Harlem Public Safety Building located at 110 West Milledgeville Road. The public is invited to attend.  The 2017 meeting dates are as follows:

January 26th
February 23rd
March 23rd
April 27th
May 25th
June 22nd
July 27th
August 24th
September 28th
October 26th
November 16th
December 28th

To view archived meeting packets please click here.