Historic Districts

What Is A Historic District?

"A historic district is a geographically definable area-urban or rural, large or small-possessing a significant concentration, linkage, or continuity of sites, buildings, structures, and/or objects united by past events or aesthetically by plan or physical development." - National Register

In Baltimore there are two types of historic districts - national and local (i.e. CHAP). A National Register Historic District is a distinction conveyed by the federal government and is created through a process administered by the National Park Service. Local Historic District designation is created by the Mayor and City Council and is generally initiated by community residents. One designation type does not automatically lead to the other, and there are differences in the conditions and benefits of being listed either Locally or Nationally.

For Information About Becoming An Historic District

Contact the Commission for Historical and Architectural Preservation for information about becoming a Baltimore City Historic District, at (410) 396-7526. For information about becoming a National Register of Historic Places Historic District contact the Maryland Historical Trust.

Misconceptions About Historic Districts

  1. The designation of property in either district type does not raise the property tax on any particular property. Property tax increases are based on property values and determined independently.
  2. Property owners are not required to make costly renovations. Local and Federal agencies cannot mandate any costly renovations. Property owners in local historic districts must receive approval for any new work to the exterior of their properties.
  3. The CHAP historic district design review and permit process is not expensive, time-consuming, or difficult. The design review can typically be processed in a few days. Additionally permit fees usually range from $15 to $50, depending on the type of project. Paint permits are free, and the staff works with the applicants to make everything move as quickly as possible.
  4. Neither type of historic district can restrict the use or sale of a property; that is predetermined through local zoning ordinances.