a Historic District?
protection: The community is currently faced with a number of serious
threats including the proposed widening of Church Lane, the residential
and commercial development of under- and un-utilized land, possible
destruction of certain "historic" properties, crime, property
upkeep, etc. Although becoming a historic district in and of itself
will not prevent any of the above problems it will, in fact, give
our Group significantly more leverage in addressing ALL of these issues
systematically. We will have much less leverage if we attack these
issues as independent problems rather than creating a vision for what
our neighborhood will look like in the future.
a renewed sense of pride: There is an indisputable sense of pride
and status that is associated with living in a historic district.
There are currently only 7 historic districts in Baltimore County
and we would be the only one in the Liberty Road corridor. Fieldstone
would be on the map as an important place.
our history and the character of our neighborhood: The Fieldstone
Community has a rich history that was very important in the development
of Baltimore County. Our heritage and the distinctiveness of the architecture
should be preserved for future generations.
property values: A 1999 study of property values in Maryland Historic
Districts reported that properties within Historic District boundaries
appreciated in value 29% faster than neighboring properties just outside
the Historic District.
Although these are the primary reasons for becoming a historic district,
there are also other benefits, as well such as State tax credits for
home improvements (refer to the sections
of this packet regarding Tax Credits). In addition, as a Historic
District we would be able to apply to the Maryland Historical Trust
for grant money for various capital improvements.
Will the Commission have the authority to tell me what I can
and can not do to my own property?
In a sense, yes,
although the rules are not as restrictive as many people believe.
The Commission would be charged with the responsibility of approving
or denying any exterior alterations to your property. You would be
required to maintain the existing character of the property as closely
as possible. Herein lies the "protection" referred to above.
Everyone in the district is afforded this protection. Some specific
If I vote not to be included in the Historic District will
I still be required to get approval from the Commission for my home
One of the requirements
of being a Historic District is having the support and agreement of
enough property owners within the district that would comprise at
least 75% of the total acreage. Even if you vote against being in
the Historic District you may be captured within the district boundaries
if the necessary support is in place from enough property owners.
In that event, you would be required to abide by the laws relating
to Historic Districts and would therefore need to seek approval from
the Commission depending on the project.
I have original wooden shutters that need to be replaced.
Will I have to replace them with wooden shutters?
In the spirit of
maintaining the exterior character of the home we would believe the
answer to be yes. However, if you already have shutters that had previously
replaced your original wooden shutters and they are not themselves
wood then you would not be required to replace them with wood. Anything
about the architecture of the house that has already been altered
you would not be required to "bring back to original condition".
I have a slate roof that needs to be replaced Will I have
to replace it with slate?
This is one area
where the Commission has made exceptions because of the very high
cost of slate. They have in the past approved asphalt shingle roofs
that are architecturally accented to look like slate.
I want to redo my kitchen and bathrooms. Will I have to obtain approval
from the Commission?
No. This work is
inside the house and does not change the architectural features of
the exterior. There would be no review of the design as part of Historic
District requirements. You may be pleased to find out, however, that
State tax credits would apply to both exterior and interior work provided
that your property is "contributing property" (refer to
the Tax Credits section).
I want to add a deck to my house. Isn't being in a Historic
District going to add more red tape?
Yes, a little. In
order to build a deck, or other major structural modification, you
need a building permit (even today). When you apply for the building
permit it must also be reviewed by the Commission to determine if
the proposed structure or alteration is consistent with the architecture
of your house. In an effort to expedite and streamline this process,
we intend to create the Fieldstone Historic Preservation Committee.
This committee will be made up of Group members and will exist to
help residents with all of the administrative issues related to meeting
the requirements under Historic District regulations.
How long would this review take?
Currently, your building
permit is reviewed within 10 working days by the County Permits Office.
The Commission has up to 45 days to make a decision. If a decision
isn't made within 45 days, the permit is automatically issued. You
would get the ok on your deck, or other alteration, if it could be
designed to harmonize with your house. The Commission meets on the
second Thursday of each month.
A developer just purchased and wants to subdivide the property
next to mine and they intend to build a new home. What if they decide
to build a very inexpensive modern home that is out of character in
The subdivision itself
would have to be reviewed by the Commission. Furthermore, any new
structures being built would have to meet the same "compatibility"
requirements as existing structures.
What if I am in the Historic District and I complete a project
that was never reviewed or approved?
If you have any doubt
as to whether approval is needed for any planned exterior work you
could contact the Fieldstone Historic Preservation Committee which
will help you to deal with the Commission if approval is, in fact,
needed. Work performed without the required approval is against the
law, and owners found in violation are subject to fines and may be
required to undergo the very costly process of reversing the unapproved
What happens if I have a newer home and live in the district?
If I need to replace my
vinyl siding or my shingle roof?
replacements, such as replacing vinyl siding with vinyl siding, does
not require approval. If you have questions about your project, you
can call the Historic Fieldstone Board for help.