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COA Process


Required for local districts and local landmarks

Download The COA Application

In order to protect historic neighborhoods or landmarks, the City’s Historic Preservation Ordinance establishes a design review requirement for Local Historic Districts and Local Landmarks to ensure that modifications to the appearance of properties are congruous with the special character of the historic districts and landmarks. The Ordinance provides that no one may erect, alter, restore, move, or demolish the exterior portion of any building or other structure, nor undertake significant modifications to landscaping and other site features, without a certificate of appropriateness (COA) which must be approved prior to the commencement of work. The COA application is processed through the city of Hendersonville Planning Department by the Commission Coordinator.


A certificate of appropriateness (COA) is a document issued by the Hendersonville Historic Preservation Commission indicating that, in the opinion of the Commission, proposed improvements are not incongruous with the historic character of historic districts or landmarks.  Exterior portions of any building or structure on property which lies within historic district boundaries or has been listed as a locally designated landmark may not be materially altered, restored, moved or demolished unless a COA has been issued.

A property owner who is considering changes to the exterior of their property should contact the Commission Coordinator by calling (828) 697-3010 or by email at, to determine if a COA is required for the project.

All COA applications are due 30 days prior to the next regular Commission meeting date. The Historic Preservation Commission meets the third Wednesday of each month at 5pm in the 2nd Floor Meeting Room located at City Hall (160 6th Ave E.).


Normal Maintenance

Normal maintenance or repair does not require a COA where no change is made to the appearance of a building or grounds.  The property owner may make changes which fall into the following categories without application to the Historic Preservation Commission:

  • painting;
  • replacement of window glass (but not style or type of window);
  • caulking and weather-stripping;
  • minor landscaping, including vegetable and flower gardens, shrubbery, side and rear yard trees;
  • light pruning of trees and shrubbery, and removal of trees less than 6" in diameter;
  • repairs to walks, patios, fences and driveways as long as replacement materials match the original or existing materials in detail and color;
  • replacement of small amounts of missing or deteriorated original or existing siding, trim, roof coverings, porch flooring, steps, etc., as long as replacement materials match the original or existing materials in detail and color;
  • installation of gutters and downspouts as long as the color matches the house trim color;
  • installation of signs that are not anchored freestanding signs or illiminated signs.;
  • installation of house numbers and mailboxes which are compatible with the original in style, size and material;
  • repair of existing street or yard lighting.

Minor Works

Minor works projects require a COA;  however, minor works can be approved by the Coordinator of the Historic Preservation Commission, or the Coordinator's designee, if the proposed work is consistent with the Hendersonville Design Review Standards.  The Coordinator, or designee, will meet with the property owner to determine if the proposed work is major or minor.  If the Coordinator determines that the project constitutes a major work, an application for a COA must be presented to the Commission for review.  Minor work projects include various projects in which the visual character of the structure or ground is not substantially changed, including, but not limited to, the following:

Fences and Walls:  Fences or low walls of wood, stone, brick or cast iron, which comply with the Design Standards; chain link fences may be permitted in side or rear yards if they cannot easily be seen from a street.

Landscaping Projects:  Heavy pruning or removal of hedges, large shrubs or trees 6" and larger in diameter; construction or replacement of brick or stone retaining walls; construction or replacement of patios which cannot easily be seen from a street; walks and driveways made of brick, stone, concrete or gravel; removal of dead or diseased trees or trees where the roots or limbs are causing damage to a house; new parking areas which are located to the rear of buildings, are not easily visible from a street, and which are screened from adjoining properties with fencing or plant materials.

Rooftop Construction:  Replacement of asphalt or fiberglass roof coverings with new dark color asphalt or fiberglass shingles; replacement of slate or tile roof covering where there is no change in materials. Installation of rooftop mounted utility, access, or safety structures that are not visible from a street.

Installation of Mechanical and Utility Equipment:  Installation of mechanical and utility equipment including but not limited to heating and air conditioning units which cannot easily be seen from a street or which are screened from view with shrubbery or appropriate fencing, or are installed on the side or rear of a building in the Main Street Local Historic District.

Foundation Repairs:  Repair or replacement of masonry foundations where the original foundation material is retained or where new material matches the original as closely as possible; installation of metal foundation vents (on sides and rear only) and replacement of wood access doors which cannot easily be seen from a street.

Masonry Repairs:  Repainting and other masonry repairs when the color and composition of the mortar matches the original and new brick or stone matches the original as closely as possible.

Exterior Lighting Fixtures:  Lighting fixtures which cannot easily be seen from a street or are similar to those existing in the District.

Awnings:  Addition, removal or replacement of cloth, canvas or acrylic awnings.

Removal of Artificial Siding:  Total removal of asbestos, asphalt or other artificial siding when the original siding is to be repaired and repainted.  Replacement with siding other than the original constitutes a major work.

Exterior Stairs, Landing, Steps and entryways:  Repair or replacement of exterior stairs, steps, ramps or flooring  which are made of masonry, rock, painted wood  or comparable materials and are similar to styles found in the District. Install new exterior stairs, landings, or steps in the Main Street Local Historic District on side or rear facades that are not visible from King Street, Church Street or an avenue.

Replacement of Missing Details:  Replacement of missing or deteriorated siding and trim, porch floors, ceilings, columns and balustrade or other architectural details with new materials identical to the original details.

Upper Facade Windows: Replacement of deteriorated upper facade windows in the Main Street Local Historic district.

Removal of Accessory Buildings:  Removal of deteriorated accessory buildings which are not original to the site or otherwise historically significant and which cannot be easily seen from a street.

Accessibility fro People with Disabilities: Installation of a temporary structure designed to promote safe access for individuals with disabilities.

Decks: Installation of a deck in the Main Street Local Historic District on the rear of a building that is not visable from King Street, Church Street or an avenue.

Other Minor Construction:  Other minor construction not easily visible from a street.

Major Works

Major works projects must be approved by the Historic Preservation Commission. In general, these are projects which involve a change in the appearance of a building or landscape and which are more substantial in nature than minor work projects. They include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • new construction or additions to buildings;
  • demolition of any part of a structure;
  • discovery of any archaeological resource on the site;
  • moving of buildings;
  • installation of anchored freestanding signs or illuminated signs;
  • new accessory buildings;
  • parking lots (other than normal driveways);
  • replacement of architectural details when there will be a change in design or materials from the original or existing details;
  • changes to roof lines;
  • minor works items not approved by the staff of the Historic Preservation Commission.

 Historic Preservation Commission

 For scheduling purposes, the Commission meets at 5:00 p.m. on the third Wednesday of each month.  Due to noticing requirements, complete applications need to be received by the Commission Coordinator 30 business days prior to the Historic Preservation Commission meeting. 

Design Review Advisory Committee

Applications for building additions, garages, carports, new commercial buildings and new residential buildings to be reviewed by the Commission shall also be scheduled for consideration by, and a recommendation from, the Design Review Advisory Committee (DRAC).  The DRAC meets at 4:00 p.m. on the first Wednesday of each month.   Applications that are to  be considered by the DRAC should be submitted to the commission Coordinator at least one week prior to the first Wednesday of the month.