HDC Instructions

Instructions for New Castle, New Hampshire Application for Historic District Commission Certificate of Approval


New Castle is an historic town. Its character is reflected in the architecture of its buildings. The purpose of the New Castle Historic District Commission (HDC) is to preserve New Castle’s historic architectural landscape. The commission is here to help ensure your house will compliment, in style and size, the historic district neighborhood. A pictorial reference book showing typical New Castle houses is available at the town hall.

When You Need a Certificate of Approval

Any construction, alteration, repair, moving, and/or demolition of any building or structure within the Historic District of New Castle requires the approval of the Historic District Commission. The Commission’s review is strictly limited to the exterior of a building and its site. If you are building a new house or proposing major renovation we may require you attend a work session.

Approval is not required for the following exterior activities:

  • Ordinary maintenance and repair which does not alter architectural features
  • Painting
  • Re-roofing with same materials where the roof plane is not altered
  • Residing with the same material
  • Replacing storm doors and windows where no architectural features are altered

How to Secure a Certificate of Approvale

We suggest you check New Castle’s Zoning Building Code. You can see or purchase it at the Town Hall or download it. It shows the location of the historic district, and describes the zoning ordinances that apply to the historic district.

The first step is to get an application for a Building Permit.

To do this:

  1. Prepare an accurate description and plan of your proposal. If the scope of your project is large, we recommend strongly you get the help of a professional architect, designer or building contractor to draw up your plans.
  2. Call the Building Inspector for a building application. The building inspector will advise you on the adequacy of your plan and whether any additional information will be required. He will also inform you of approvals required by other town boards (such as a zoning variance from the Board of Adjustment or a wetland’s permit). You should seek the HDC approval only after all other boards have given approval. If no other board's approvals are needed, you may apply directly to the HDC."

Schedule a work session or a public hearing with the HDC

If you are proposing major changes, we recommend you schedule a work session before the public hearing so that we can advise you and give you our input. Some projects may require several sessions.

The HDC meets the first Thursday of the month. You must submit your application and materials for your work session or your public hearing 21 days before the session. Tens copies must be submitted.

Required Materials

Please be sure to submit ten copies of the following to town secretary:

  • A written description of your proposal. The description should convey in a clear and concise manner what the exterior of the building will look like. Although we review fences, we do not review landscaping.
  • Photographs of existing building or site: It is helpful to include a photo of the proposed changes/new construction (to scale) inserted in a picture showing surrounding properties and their relationship to the property in question.
  • Drawings to 1/4 inch scale minimum or architectural renderings showing proposed changes to the existing building or the proposed new construction. Provide as much detail as possible so that the character of the completed project is clear. Drawings should show front, rear and side elevations of the building. Interior floor plans are not needed.
  • Detailed information on window or door style, trim, material and manufacturer, to include window schedules.
  • Samples of non-traditional materials, a description of how they will be used, and/or manufacturers literature.
  • A list of abutters. This is required for the public hearing, not the work session. This list must include property owners who adjoin your property directly, and who are across the street.

It should be noted that when applying for a work session, submission of the final detailed plans is not required. However, we recommend you bring as much information as possible so that we can give helpful feedback.


  • For projects with an estimated cost of less than $1,000 the fee is $25.00
  • For projects with an estimated cost of more than $1,000 but less than $10,000 the fee is $100
  • For projects with an estimated cost in excess of $10,000 the fee is $250

In addition the above fees, you are responsible for proper notification of abutters and required to pay for their legal notification through registered mail and a “legal notice” in the newspaper.

Upon approval the Commission will issue a “Certificate of Approval”. A “Notice of Disapproval” will be issued when a request is denied.

It is important that the plans approved by the HDC are the same plans that go to any other boards, the building inspector and your contractor.

Design Guidlines - New Castle Historic District

The following criteria shall be considered by the Historic District Commission in reviewing applications for a Certificate of Approval. In accordance with Section 9.3.4 of the Zoning Ordinance, review standards and design guidelines consistent with the following criteria may be further specified in Historic District Regulations as adopted by the Commission per RSA 675:6.

New Castle is an historic town with its character reflected in the architecture of the structures that lie within the historic district. The architectural style of the buildings within the district includes Capes, Saltboxes, New Englanders and Colonials. In general, buildings within the Historic District are characterized by a style that is simple, clean, spare and uncluttered. New construction should reflect and respect our established architectural traditions. Contemporary architecture is not allowed in the Historic District.

It is not the purpose of this ordinance to deny a citizen the right to erect, alter, relocate or demolish a building or structure within the historic district so long as the result will preserve the character or the historic district.

  1. Criteria For Existing Structures
    1. The impact the proposal will have on the special character of the district and the extent to which it preserves and enhances the historical, architectural and cultural qualities of the district.
    2. The compatibility of the exterior design, architectural components, texture and materials proposed to be used in relationship to existing structures and their setting.
    3. The scale and general size of new construction and renovations in relation to the existing surroundings, with consideration of such factors as height, width, streetscape, setback, number of stories, roof type, facade opening (windows, doors) and architectural details.
  2. Criteria – New Construction
    1. New Construction will be consistent with the criteria for Existing Structures, listed above.
    2. The Architecture of a proposed new structure shall conform in form and style to typical historic structures of the neighborhood within the District. Such structures shall conform to a specific historic architectural style. Only those houses that conform to the criteria of the HDC can serve as an example of “character” as defined in section 9.3.2 of the ordinance.
    3. Size of proposed structures should be similar in external dimensions to typical historic structures of the style, except where such dimension would conflict with the building code. Such structure shall be consistent with the prevailing size and scale of other structures within the District or relevant neighborhood.

Historic District Commission Application Check List

As you put together your application, use this check list to make sure you have included all the information you will need:

Roofing Material

  • Asphalt ___
  • Wood ___
  • Metal ___
  • Other ___

Siding Material

  • Wood ___
  • Plastic ___
  • Cement composition ___
  • Other ___


  • Make ___
  • Material ___
  • Mullion Pattern ___
  • Glazing Type ___
  • Glazing Style ___


  • Material ___


    • Cornerboards ___
    • Rakes ___
    • Eaves ___
    • Door ___
    • Window ___


    • Style ___
    • Material ___
    • Dimensions ___

    Foundation Facade

    • Concrete ___
    • Brick ___
    • Stone ___
    • Other ___