- Historic Preservation
- Certificate of Appropriateness (COA)
Certificate of Appropriateness (COA)
- What is a Certificate of Appropriateness?
- Do I need to apply for a Certificate of Appropriateness?
- How to apply for a Certificate of Appropriateness
- COA Process Step-by-Step Chart
What is a Certificate of Appropriateness?
The Certificate of Appropriateness Permit is a process for reviewing plans for work on properties in the Cumberland's local historic preservation district. This district is also known as the Canal Place Preservation District. This district overlays and includes the:
• Downtown Cumberland National Register District
• Washington Street National Register District
• and a portion of the Green Street National Register District
The Certificate of Appropriateness permit ensures that any proposed work to properties in this special district complies with Cumberland’s Historic District Guidelines and, by doing so, protects our historic architectural assets as well as the property values of these properties.
How to apply for a Certificate of Appropriateness:
The City of Cumberland Historic Preservation Commission (HPC) normally meets on the 3rd Wednesday of each month at 4pm in the City Council Chambers.
The HPC design review process in the City of Cumberland requires the following steps to obtain a Certificate of Appropriateness COA for any activity within Cumberland's local historic preservation district which is known as the Canal Place Preservation District. A COA must be acquired before any work can occur on the subject property.
A COA may be applied for in person at the permit counter in the Community Development Department, or online by visiting https://www4.citizenserve.com/Portal/PortalController and clicking on the section at the bottom of the page which is titled: Projects Requiring Board/Commission Review. Once you click on this section follow the directions which pop up on your computer screen.
1. Apply for all other relevant building permits. The decisions rendered by the HPC do not supersede any requirements set forth by the Zoning Ordinance or the fire, health, and safety regulations. You may need additional permits such as: building, electrical, sign, dumpster, etc. Contact the Community Development permit counter, or the Historic Preservation Planner, if you have questions.
Completing a COA application
Consult with the Historic Preservation Planner with any questions you may have to ensure your application is complete. It is helpful to provide as much information as possible. Required documentation includes:
- Written Scope of Work – include all proposed improvements.
- Photographs of the Site and Structure – include photographs of the entire elevation and indicate where on the elevation the proposed work is located. Include detailed photographs where necessary to illustrate existing or proposed conditions.
- Façade Elevations
- Samples of Proposed Materials
- Scaled Drawings, pictures and/or plans. These are needed to show sufficient detail of the proposed project (and plan, where applicable). This should include all features, including windows, cornices, walls, foundations, roofs, signs, lighting, awnings, and any other pertinent architectural features.
- Digital Renderings, When Available
- Color Scheme/Paint Chips
- Manufacturers Cut-Sheets or Product Specifications
2. Once the application is complete and submitted, the COA application will be scheduled for a decision at the HPC’s next regularly scheduled meeting. Completed applications must be submitted at least one week, seven (7) days, prior to a regularly scheduled HPC meeting in order to receive a decision at that meeting.
3. Applicants will be notified of the meeting date and are required to attend the meeting (in person, virtually or by phone) to discuss their project. Please be prepared to briefly describe the proposed work and to answer questions. Bring with you any additional information requested or any resources you believe help support your application for the COA (paint scheme, samples of proposed replacement materials, etc).
The HPC may approve your application as submitted; they may approve your application contingent on a subsequent staff review related to request for additional information; or they may deny your application and request that your plan be revised and your application be resubmitted. If the HPC determines that there is insufficient information to make a vote, they may table the application until the next meeting and ask the applicant to provide additional information. A majority vote is required to approve or table applications.
4. Approved COA applications, which require a majority vote by the HPC, are forwarded to the Department of Community Development for issuance of a Permit, a copy of which then will be forwarded to the applicant.
5. All required permits must be issued and received by the applicant before any work can take place at the subject property. The property owner must do work in accordance with the approved application(s).
Sometimes changes must be made during a project. Property owners must notify the Historic Preservation Planner of any changes to an approved COA application - including changes in material. If the modifications are minor and meet all of the design guidelines, approval may be granted through administrative review. Any major changes to an existing COA permit will require another review by the HPC.