Planning Topics

Historic Districts

The Town of Chapel Hill has three local historic districts: Franklin/Rosemary Historic District, created by the Town Council in 1976; Cameron/McCauley Historic District, created by Town Council in 1990; and the Gimghoul Historic District, created in 1993. Local Historic Districts are zoning overlay districts created to protect and conserve the heritage and character of Chapel Hill.

Owners of property are required to receive a Certificate of Appropriateness for exterior changes to the property.The Town of Chapel Hill also has four National Register Historic Districts: Chapel Hill Historic District; West Chapel Hill Historic District; Gimghoul Historic District; and the Rocky Ridge Historic District. The owner of a property in the National District is not required to apply for a Certificate of Appropriateness for changes unless the property is also located with

in a local historic district. For more information on National Historic District click here.

Design Guidelines

The Design Guidelines for the Chapel Hill Historic Districts were adopted by the Town Council in June 2002 (click here to download document). The Guidelines set the standards for property owners and for the Commission on what is congruous with the character of the historic districts.

The new guidelines include a brief description and history of Chapel Hill, and a description of the Historic District Commission. Each topic covered includes points to consider prior to designing and has specific guidelines. For example, exterior lighting suggests the use of directional fixtures and downlighting to prevent excessive nighttime lighting.

Certificate of Appropriateness Application (pdf)

Design Guidelines (pdf)

Local Historic Districts Map (jpeg)

National Register Districts Map (jpeg)