Historic Preservation


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?

545731_468738036492281_1086677564_nNo, 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.

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