Historic Preservation is saving for future generations what is unique about our community. In planning for the future of the City of Hattiesburg, it is important that we recognize the significance of what has happened in the past and plan to preserve it for the future by identifying, surveying, inventorying, protecting and preserving the historic resources of the community.
The Hattiesburg Historic Conservation Ordinance (Ord. 2193) establishes a system of application and review for alterations by the Hattiesburg Historic Conservation Commission of historic districts, sites and buildings, creating a layer of protection at the local level that is not provided by listing with the National Register.
Five local historic districts have been designated by ordinance:
All remodeling and general maintenance work within the five local conservation districts requires one of the following, which can be obtained from the Historic Preservation Planning office (2nd Floor, City Hall, Planning Division, 200 Forrest Street):
Hattiesburg Historic Neighborhood District, 1986
North Main Street Historic District, 1994
The Oaks Historic District, 1997
Newman-Buschman Railroad Historic District, 1999
Parkhaven Historic District, 2009
Letter of Compliance
Administrative review and approval (does not require a public hearing) in the form of a Letter of Compliance (LOC) are used when requests for work are:
- Routine in nature and involve repair without change to design, form or materials
- Painting exterior (surfaces that have never been painted require review)
- Roof repair or re-roofing with the same materials as existing
Certificate of Appropriateness
A COA is required prior to making any exterior alterations to properties within the designated districts, landmarks or sites. Exterior alterations include but are not limited to:
- Change to the design or materials of any building features such as exterior finishes or trim, roofs and chimneys, windows, doors, porches, garages and additions and security.
- Alteration or addition of fences, sidewalks, driveways, signs, lights, retaining walls and other site elements
- Removal of trees over 6” in diameter
To apply for a Certificate of Appropriateness (COA):
Plans and exterior elevations drawn to scale that clearly show the design and the architectural character of the proposed building or alteration. Lists of materials, textures and other characteristics about appearance For site work, a scaled drawing that clearly shows the shape and dimensions of the site, locations of existing and proposed buildings or other structures and the landscaping and any substantial changes to paved areas, driveway entrances and exits, walls, fences, railings, walks, terraces, signs, and lighting and similar features.
Only complete applications with supporting documents will be added to the agenda. The agenda cutoff is Noon, 12 calendar days before the Commission meeting to allow for notification and posting.
Painting, interior alterations, and routine repairs/maintenance that do not change appearance do not require a Certificate of Appropriateness; however, a Letter of Compliance and, possibly Building Permits, are required for such work.
It is the responsibility of the property owner to obtain other permits and variances as required by the City.
Hattiesburg Historic Conservation Commission
The Hattiesburg Historic Conservation Commission (HHCC) is a 9-member board of citizen volunteers who are appointed by the Mayor, with approval of the City Council, to guide the historic preservation process. The Commission meets monthly on the second Wednesday to review applications for Certificates of Appropriateness (COA).
The review process is guided by the Historic Conservation Ordinance and the Hattiesburg Design Guidelines Manual, based on the U.S. Department of the Interior Standards for Rehabilitation for Historic Preservation Projects.
Applications for COA’s must be submitted by Noon on the Friday, 12 days prior to the regular HHCC meeting (2nd Wednesday of the month). Applications for COA’s require a Pre-Application meeting with the Historic Preservation Planner (2nd Floor City Hall, Planning Division, 200 Forrest Street).
AgendasApplications and support materials must be submitted by noon on the Friday, 14 days prior to the regular HHCC meeting, normally the second Wednesday of each month.
Owners of property in locally designated historic districts who are considering renovations or alterations should contact the Historic Preservation Planner, Planning Division, Department of Urban Development, Hattiesburg City Hall, to determine what type of historic permits and procedure will be required for their project.
The Historic Preservation Planner can assist you with:
- Applications and information about required documentation
- Technical assistance about historic preservation and renovation
- Information from the district inventory filed, National Register nomination documents and other records.
- Details about policies, procedures and guidelines used by the Historic Conservation Commission in the review and approval process
- Information about deadlines and notification requirements
Mailing Address: Post Office Box 1898 Hattiesburg, MS 39403-1898 Physical Address: 212 West Front Street Hattiesburg, MS 39401
Historic Preservation Planner
Phone: 601-554-1031 Fax: 601-545-1962
FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)
Select any one of the topics below to find answers to the questions most frequently asked of the Hattiesburg Historic Preservation Division.
- Do I need a Certificate of Appropriateness (COA) to paint the outside of my house or building?
No, unless the building has never been painted, in which case painting it would be a change in design and materials.
- I want to remodel the inside of my house, including modernizing the kitchen and bathrooms. Do I need a COA?
No, a COA is not required for interior work. Interior remodeling may require building permits, however, depending on the type and extent of the work.
- Do I need a COA to replace window in my house with new ones?
Yes, changes to or replacement of major exterior features such as windows and doors requires a COA. Repair is always recommended before replacement.
- We want to add a room onto our historic house, and later we would like to build a carport. Will we need to obtain a COA?
Yes, additions to existing houses and construction of new buildings both require a COA.
- A large pecan tree is growing too close to our house and is dropping limbs on the roof. Do we need a COA in order to remove the tree?
Yes, tree removal requires evaluation by the Urban Forester and a COA.
- What about other landscaping or site work? Do we need a COA for that?
You may, depending on the scope of the changes. You do not need a COA for minor changes to flower beds or shrubbery. You do need a COA to change or add fences, walks and driveways.
- Our roof is leaking and needs to be repaired. Do we need a COA?
You may obtain a Letter of Compliance (LOC) for this work as long as you do not change the type or material of the roofing.
- What if we want to replace the roofing?
As long as you don’t change the type, style or material of the roofing or design of the roof, you may obtain an LOC instead of a COA. If you propose to change the material or other features, you will need to apply for a COA.
- I have purchased a vacant lot in a local historic district and want to build a new house on it. May I do that?
Yes, the Historic Ordinance does not restrict new construction as long as the new structure meets the guidelines of compatibility. Quality of design and compatibility are the primary criteria for new construction.
- What is the purpose of historic preservation and conservation?
The purpose of historic conservation is to save for the future what is unique about our city. If we do not save our historic buildings-our downtown and our first neighborhoods – nothing will distinguish us from any other city or town. We also would lose many examples of fine architecture and design from various periods of the history of the city.
Does historic preservation have any value to property owners?
It has been documented by numerous studies that protection of historic districts through local ordinances increases the value of property. Historic preservation is a valuable tool for economic development in other ways as well. Historic sites are among the top destinations for travelers, for example. In addition, federal, state and local financial incentives in the form of grants, tax abatement and tax credits may be available for redevelopment of historic properties.