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Historic Preservation Commission

Current Membership Roster 
Current Agenda
Annual Reports

Mission Statement

The Cary Historic Preservation Commission works to preserve the historical, cultural, and architectural heritage of our Town for future generations.

Life Span Statement
The Historic Preservation Commission is a standing commission which meets monthly.  Commission members will reexamine their purpose every three years beginning in 2017.

Powers and Duties
The Historic Preservation Commission’s general scope of work is to identify and recommend Cary Historic Landmarks to Town Council for its review and approval, and to review applications and hold quasi-judicial public hearings for proposed alterations to or demolition of Cary’s designated Local Historic Landmarks to ensure conformity with adopted design guidelines. National Register properties are not regulated at this time.

The Historic Preservation Commission shall have the following additional powers and duties within the town’s zoning jurisdiction, to be carried out in accordance with the terms of the Cary Land Development Ordinance and NCGS 160A, Article 19 Part 3C:

  • To undertake and maintain an inventory of properties of historical, pre-historical, architectural, and/or cultural significance.
  • To recommend to the Town Council areas to be designated by ordinance as "historic districts."
  • To recommend to the Town Council that designation of any area as a historic district or part thereof, or designation of any building, structure, site, area, or object as a historic landmark, be revoked or removed for cause.
  • To review and act upon proposals for alteration, demolition, or new construction within locally-designated historic districts.
  • To prepare and recommend the official adoption of a historic preservation element as part of the town’s comprehensive plan at the request of the Town Council.
  • To enter, solely in performance of its official duties and only at reasonable times, upon private lands for examination or survey thereof.  However, no member, employee or agent of the commission may enter any private building or structure without the express consent of the owner or occupant thereof.
  • To conduct educational programs with respect to historic properties and districts.
  • To negotiate at any time with the owner of a building, structure, site, area or object regarding its preservation when such action is reasonably necessary and appropriate.
  • To prepare and adopt principles and guidelines for altering, restoring, moving, or demolishing properties, not inconsistent with NCGS 160A, Article 19 Part 3C, designated as landmarks or within historic districts.

The Historic Preservation Commission consists of seven commissioners, one of whom the Town Council designates as chairperson.  Initial appointments to the newly-established commission are for two-, three- or four-year terms.  Terms thereafter will be for three years, except where unexpired terms are being filled.  Members must be qualified based on special interest or experience in history, architecture, archaeology, or a related field.

Goals/Work Plan
The Historic Preservation Commission shall hold quasi-judicial hearings (evidentiary hearings), and issue certificates of appropriateness based solely on the written and oral evidence presented for requests for major alterations or demolition of designated Cary Historic Landmarks, in a process described in Land Development Ordinance (LDO) Section 3.27.2. 

In addition, the Historic Preservation Commission will act as an “involved party” in implementing recommendations of the Historic Preservation Master Plan as assigned in Chapter VI, “Plan Implementation.” 

Goals (2016)

Operational Goals

  • Receive training for the conduct of Town of Cary meetings, including public meeting, email and related requirements and guidelines
  • Receive training for conducting quasi-judicial hearings
  • Be familiar with all statutes, laws, ordinances, and rules of procedure relating to historic designations
  • Be familiar with the Town of Cary Inventory of Historical Resources

Procedural Goals

  • Consider any historic landmark designation recommendations that may come before it in a timely, thorough and impartial manner
  • Consider any historic district designation recommendations that may come before it in a timely, thorough and impartial manner
  • Consider any Certificate of Appropriateness requests that may come before it in a timely, thorough and impartial manner
  • Identify, from the Town of Cary Inventory of Historical Resources, potential future historic landmarks; contact the property owners; provide education to owners interested in pursuing landmark status; and recommend at least three properties to the Cary Town Council for local historic landmark status.
  • Engage in focused discussion to advance the process of creating one or more local historic districts, determining potential boundaries with respect to the national register historic districts; contact property owners; and provide education to owners interested in pursuing a local historic district.
  • Engage in outreach and educational activities in the community to promote awareness of historic preservation and the historic preservation commission, especially leveraging other Town of Cary public relations opportunities; and including the creation of an educational booklet about historic properties in Cary.

Excellence Goals

  • Comply with all relevant statutes, laws, ordinances, and rules of procedure
  • Conduct all business in an open, positive, collaborative manner
  • Maintain open communication with the Cary Town Council, staff, related historic preservation organizations and the community
  • Pursue the State Historic Preservation Office “Certified Local Government” designation for local historic preservation commissions

The commission meets on the second Wednesday of the month at 6:30 p.m. in Conference Room #10035 (unless otherwise noted), 316 N. Academy Street in Cary, and requires approximately two hours per month for meetings.  The Commission will on occasion need to hold quasi-judicial public hearings, and in such cases may need to spend several additional hours making site visits, reviewing reports and applications, and performing research prior to the meeting. Public notices will be prepared prior to any quasi-judicial hearing held by this board.  Commission members may on occasion be asked to participate in meetings or training events outside their regularly scheduled meetings.

2016 Meeting Schedule
Wednesday, January 13
Wednesday, February 10
Wednesday, March 9, Cary Town Hall, Conference Room 11130, 316 N. Academy St.
Wednesday, April 13
Wednesday, May 11
Wednesday, June 8
Wednesday, July 13
Wednesday, August 17
Thursday, September 15
Tuesday, September 27, (joint meeting with council/boards/commissions); 5:30p.m., Senior Center, Ballroom, 120 Maury O’Dell Place, Cary, NC
Wednesday, October 12
Wednesday, November 9
Wednesday, December 14

All meetings of the Commission shall be open to the public and will adhere to the Open Meetings Law and Public Records law. Visit the Town’s web calendar to see a monthly listing of all Town of Cary public meetings, agendas and to 
confirm meeting dates, times, and locations. 

Electronic Participation in Meetings
Members may electronically participate in some meetings based on criteria in Policy 150 (the general rules of order for appointed Town groups) and the HPC’s Rules of Procedure.

Any member of the public wishing to electronically participate in meetings that meet requirements of Policy 150 and the HPC’s Rules of Procedure should contact the town clerk at 919-469-4011 at least by noon on the day of the meeting to obtain more information.

View the Best Practices guidelines for Board members and members of the public for electronically participating in meetings to help ensure a pleasant meeting experience for all participants.

Questions about the Historic Preservation Commission should be directed to the Planning Department by emailing or by calling at 919-469-4084. 

How Do I Apply?
Applications are accepted from May 1 through June 30. Applicants must live within Cary's Corporate Limits. Current Town of Cary employees are not eligible to volunteer.  Questions about the application process should be directed to the Town Clerk’s office by e-mailing or by calling (919) 319-4508.