Historic Preservation FAQs

Is my property located in a historic district?

  • Wake Forest has 4 historic districts, the Glen Royall Historic District, the Wake Forest National Register Historic District, the locally designated Wake Forest Historic District, and the Downtown Wake Forest Historic District. The easiest way to determine if your property is located within one of these districts is to check the historic district map. If your are still in doubt please contact the town staff.


My property is in a historic district. Do I need approval for a project?

  • Is your property located in the locally designated historic district? If so, you’ll need a Certificate of Appropriateness (COA) for any exterior work that is visible from any point along the street. You may download a Certificate of Appropriateness Application here. If your property is located anywhere else you do not need a COA with the exception of a demolition. All demolitions require a COA! It should also be noted that, even though you may not need a COA, you will still need to obtain all required permits and meet all other regulations of the town. 


What is the difference between a National Register and a local historic district?

  • A locally designated historic district has been so designated by the local governing body and is considered an overlay district as part of the zoning ordinance. The zoning ordinance, as authorized by the General Statutes, imposes certain requirements, creates the Historic Preservation Commission (HPC), and grants certain authority to the HPC. Development is a local historic district must meet design requirements and, as required, receive a Certificate of Appropriateness prior to commencing exterior work. 
  • A National Register historic district is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Listing on the National Register offers a degree of protection from adverse impacts from proposed projects which will use federal or state money. In addition, both federal and state tax credits for renovations are available to eligible properties in these historic districts. Check with town staff to see if your property is eligible for these tax credits. No additional requirements come with listing on the National Register, so no COA is required. 


How do I apply to serve on the Historic Preservation Commission?

  • The town regularly advertises for vacant seats on its various advisory boards. You may download an application form to serve on the Historic Preservation Commission, fill it out, and submit it to the Town Clerk


When is the next Christmas Historic Home Tour?

  • The Christmas Historic Home Tour is conducted every two years, in even numbered years. Generally, it is held on the first Saturday in December, the weekend after Thanksgiving weekend. Additional information is available on our web page.


Staff Contact