Installing Wood Fencing in an Historic District

historic fence style

As the owner of a historic home, you’re likely very proud of the rich culture and history that you have the opportunity to help preserve. Unfortunately, those that do own homes in historic districts are often surprised to find that there are very stringent guidelines governing what changes homeowners are allowed to make – both inside and out. This includes what fence types you are allowed to have around your yard. If you are allowed a fence, those rules may dictate the type of fence you can put up.

historic fencing picture

Common Historic Home Rules

Every single change you make to your historic home will have a huge impact on the value of the home as well as the values of the other homes in your area even when it comes to installing wood fencing.  Each change alters the process of historic preservation, so many townships with historic homes are very careful to ensure the integrity of each home is maintained as much as possible.

This can, of course, cause trouble for homeowners who wish to make upgrades and changes. While the rules vary from county to county, you’ll commonly find regulations governing additions, changes to windows, the type of roofing material you can use, and the type or color of paint you can use. You’ll also find that your inability to make certain changes can have a huge impact on your homeowners insurance, taxes, and energy bills – all of which may be higher than for the average home. Fences, of course, will be governed as well.

This isn’t to say that homeowners have not challenged these rules from time to time. In the 1990’s, a homeowner in historic Haddonfield, NJ decided to pain his home with varying shades of purple. Homeowners and the historic society went nuts, claiming the colors were not appropriate. The courts, on the other hand, voted on the side of the homeowners. As the district was considered “Victorian,” the shades of purple were indeed considered appropriate for the time period.

Installing Wood Fencing on Your Historic Property

While we’re pretty sure you’re not about to paint your home or your wood fence different shades of purple, we stress the importance of checking with your county before you run out and purchase expensive supplies you may not be able to use. Start by talking to your county’s construction official to find out what the regulations are regarding fencing on historic properties such as in New Castle, Delaware. While some may simply have guidelines for you to follow, other counties will require you to go through what may be a very time consuming approval process.

Your best bet is to be as detailed as possible when creating the proposal you’d like to give the county. Do a little bit of research to find out if any type of wood fencing existed in the time period in which your home was built. Any supporting documentation you can provide will only serve to help build your case for being allowed to install the type of wood fence you desire.

Remember, the approval process for changes to a historic home can be rather lengthy. Make sure you give yourself plenty of time to plan your strategy – and be prepared to wait for a response. Good luck!

All American Fence installs fences for customers all over Delaware and in parts of Maryland.  We are well versed in what it takes to install all types of fences including wood, vinyl, aluminum and chain link.  Call us today to get your fence installation project completed efficiently and at an affordable price.

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