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Historic Area Work Permits

Once a resource or district is designated on the Locational Atlas or the Master Plan for Historic Preservation, the property owner must obtain a Historic Area Work Permit (HAWP) for any proposed changes to the exterior of structures or to the environmental setting of the site or district. This includes moving, demolishing or altering the exterior of a house, building or other structure listed on the Locational Atlas, the Master Plan for Historic Preservation or located in a listed historic district. Changes not seen from the street still require review.

Preservation Planners employed by the Historic Preservation Office are happy to answer any questions you may have, and the Montgomery County Historic Preservation Commission works swiftly to review applications in a process that does not exceed 45 days. Applications are available at The Department of Permitting Services or you may print the application below.

Work requiring a HAWP includes but is not limited to the following:

  • New Construction
  • Additions
  • Grading and removing live trees greater than six inches in diameter
  • Removing or enclosing porches
  • Installing siding, shingle or masonry facing or other changes to exterior materials
  • Replacing a window sash with a new sash
  • Permanently removing shutters
  • Adding, removing or changing architectural features, including size, shape and placement of windows
  • Painting or removing paint from masonry

Other changes to historic properties or sites that do not require HPC involvement are:

  • Interior work
  • Gardening and landscaping
  • Customary farming operations
  • Ordinary exterior maintenance (painting non-masonry surfaces, roof repairs, gutters, trim, lights, etc.) with materials and design matchng what is already in place
  • Paving repairs with matching materials and performing general maintenance as long as the work does not alter exterior features

If you need additional guidance on applying for a Historic Area Work Permit, you may move through our Step-by-Step Guide to Applying for a HAWP. Please feel free to contact our office at 301-563-3400 if we can be of assistance to you.

Step-by-Step Guide to Applying for a HAWP
Step 1 Does your property require a Historic Area Work Permit?
Step 2 Does your proposed work require a Historic Area Work Permit?
Step 3 Filing the Historic Area Work Permit Application Form
Step 4 Consideration of your application by the Historic Preservation Commission
Step 5 Post-consideration


REMINDER: Many local government offices may need to review your proposed changes before you apply for a HAWP including, but not limited to, Brookeville, Chevy Chase Village, Garrett Park, Kensington, Somerset, and Takoma Park. If applicable, please check with your municipality before applying for a HAWP.

In reviewing and acting on HAWP applications, the HPC follows the requirements of the Historic Preservation Ordinance, any guidelines that apply specifically to the historic district in question and the Standards for Rehabilitation issued by the U.S. Secretary of the Interior. These review standards do not :

  • Freeze designated structures or sites are not frozen in time. Changes are regularly permitted.
  • Prevent new construction in historic districts or require that it replicate historic styles.
  • Require you to initiate any type of historic restoration or require you to reinstall historic features if they were not there when you acquired the property or when the property was first designated as historic. For example, even if your home had a metal roof sometime in the past, you can replace an existing fiberglass shingle roof with a new one of the same material.
  • Require the review of paint colors. You may paint your home any exterior or interior colors you desire as the HPC has no say in color selection and only regulates proposed changes to exterior features.

If the HPC approves your HAWP application, the Montgomery County Department of Permitting Services (DPS), 255 Rockville Pike, Rockville, can issue your building permit. If the HPC denies your application, or sets conditions with which you do not agree, you can appeal the decision to the Board of Appeals, 100 Maryland Avenue, Rockville, 240-777-6600.

In addition to the HAWP, other additional permits may be required from DPS. You can pick up a HAWP application when you apply for building permits at DPS and have the staff there explain the process to you. Throughout the HAWP application process, Historic Preservation Section staff is available to answer your questions.