Hill Historic District
is the PHC?
Under city law, the PHC lists on the Philadelphia Register of Historic Places buildings, structures, sites, objects, and districts that meet the designation criteria established by ordinance. The PHC reviews all applications for which a building permit is required and for work that alters the appearance of a listed property.
Although historic designation entails some restrictions, it also has benefits. Designation can help foster community pride, revitalize neighborhoods, and help improve and maintain a neighborhood's quality of life. Owners of income-producing properties may be eligible for federal investment tax credits for restoring and rehabilitating historic properties.
does the PHC Work?
The PHC is guided in its evaluation of applications by the City's Historic Preservation Ordinance (§ 14-2007 of the Philadelphia Code), its published Rules and Regulations, and The Secretary of the Interior's Standards for the Treatment of Historic Properties with Guidelines for Preserving, Rehabilitating, Restoring and Reconstructing Historic Buildings, published in 1995 by the National Park Service. These publications are available from the PHC office.
does an owner know if a property is designated?
a property owner get proposed work approved by the PHC?
When an owner of a designated property applies to the Department of Licenses and Inspections (L&I) for a building permit, L&I refers the owner to the PHC staff for review. L&I will refer applications for interior work to PHC, which will review it only to determine that a project will not affect the exterior appearance of a structure. The PHC, however, encourages property owners to contact its staff early in the design process to discuss any proposed work. Upon submission of a complete application to PHC, the staff will either approve it or refer it to the Architectural Committee, a technical advisory committee, for review. The Committee reports its recommendations to the Commission, the decision-making body. Both the Committee and Commission hold their monthly meetings in public and urge applicants to attend to answer any questions that may arise.
information does the PHC need to process an application?
Additional information, such as scaled drawings, plans, or specifications may be required by the PHC. An applicant should contact the PHC staff for further details.
long will it take to get approval?
The Commission may approve, reject, defer for no more than six months, or request resubmission of the application. The Commission must vote on the proposal within 60 days of receiving the completed application. If the Commission approves the proposal, staff can process the permit application immediately. If revisions to plans are necessary, the staff and Architectural Committee will work with the property owner to revise the project so it meets the Commission's requirements. If the Commission denies an application, the property owner may appeal to the Board of License and Inspection Review within 15 days of receiving written notice of the Commission's decision. The law also contains provisions for postponing applications and for hardship situations.
services are provided by the PHC?
The PHC maintains a non-circulating library and thousands of building files available to anyone curious about Philadelphia and its architecture. Resources include books, historic and current photographs, property transactions, atlases and maps, fire insurance surveys, and other materials related to historic buildings and Philadelphia history.
A brochure cannot address every situation involving a historic building. Please consult the PHC before undertaking any work.
This brochure was produced by the Preservation Alliance for Greater Philadelphia, in conjunction with the Philadelphia Historical Commission. The Alliance is a non-profit, membership organization that actively promotes the appreciation, protection, and appropriate use and development of the Philadelphia region's historic buildings, communities, and landscapes. For more information, call 215-546-1746 or visit www.preservationalliance.com.
project has been financed in part with Federal funds from the National
Park Service, U.S. Department of the Interior. However, the contents and
opinions do not necessarily reflect the view or policies of the Department
of the Interior. This program receives Federal financial assistance for
identification and protection of historic properties. Under Title VI of
the Civil Rights Act of 1964, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of
1973, and the Age Discrimination Act of 1975, as amended, the U.S. Department
of the Interior prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color,
notional origin, disability, or age in its federally assisted programs.
If you believe you hove been discriminated against in any program, activity,
or facility as described above, or if you desire further information,
please write to: Office of Equal Opportunity, National Park Service, 1849
C Street, N. W., Washington, DC 20240.
Used with permission of Philadelphia Historical Commission.