Historic Preservation

Historic HomeThe Historic Preservation program of the Planning Department has the responsibility of reviewing all development applications within the locally designated Wake Forest Historic District and involving any historic landmark properties. Working through the Wake Forest Historic Preservation Commission, surveys are conducted, new historic districts and landmark properties are identified, activities are conducted to bring attention to our cultural heritage and protection of historic properties and neighborhoods, and, where possible, properties of historic significance are protected through renovation, demolition delay, and regulatory means.

Historic Preservation Commission

The Historic Preservation Commission (HPC) was originally established in Wake Forest with the adoption of the first historic preservation ordinance as part of the zoning ordinance on May 10, 1979. The original commission was called the "Historic District Commission." Subsequently, the name became the "Historic Preservation Commission."

Vision Statement

In March 2003 the Historic Preservation Commission adopted a vision statement and slogan. The Vision Statement is:

"To safeguard the heritage of the Town, by preserving districts and landmarks that embody important elements of its culture, history, architectural history, or prehistory and to promote the use and conservation of such districts and landmarks for the education, pleasure, and enrichment of the residents of the Town, the County, and the State as a whole."

Wake Forest Historic Home Walking TourSlogan

"Preserving the Past for the Future."

HPC Activities

The regular activity of the Historic Preservation Commission is to review proposed alterations, renovations, and new construction in the locally designated historic district and landmark properties. The purpose of this review is to ensure that the proposed work is in conformity with the design guidelines and the Secretary of Interior’s Standards for Rehabilitation, that is, they are compatible with the historic design of the building and the district as a whole. Design, dimensions, materials, and color are all considered. On properties located in the local historic district and locally designated historic landmark properties this usually means the issuing of Certificates of Appropriateness. 

Special Activities

The Historic Preservation Commission (HPC) also in involved in a number of other activities. The most popular and long-standing is the Christmas Historic Home Tour. Currently, the HPC is in the process of raising money to do some basic renovation work on the Ailey Young House. From time to time the HPC holds workshops or forums on a variety of subject matter. In the past the HPC has worked on the beautification of the median along North Main Street, addressed parking along North Main Street, installed signs recognizing historic districts and other historic areas, and cosponsored the first spring garden tour with the Wake Forest Garden Club. So far, we have not been successful in restricting truck traffic or obtaining pedestrian lighting along North Main Street. 

Wake Forest Historic District Design GuidelinesHistoric District Design Guidelines 

Adopted in September 1999 by the Historic Preservation Commission, the Historic District Design Guidelines guide staff and the HPC in its decisions on Certificates of Appropriateness (COAs). More>> 

Secretary of Interior's Standards for Rehabilitation  

The Secretary of Interior's Standards for Rehabilitation are the overarching standard for appropriate rehabilitation and renovation efforts on historic properties that are used by property owners and local, state, and federal agencies nationwide. They can be found on many web sites including here North Carolina State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO) within the North Carolina Department of Cultural Resources.