Historic District Commission

A local historic district is one of the most effective and comprehensive ways to manage change in a historic area. Such districts ensure that new construction and significant renovation are respectful of existing character.

In March of 2006, the Town of Bristol voted to pass a Historic District Ordinance. It is found in the Zoning Ordinance. Our current Historic (Overlay) District includes Central Square and nearby property. Any buildings under this overlay are protected according to the Ordinance. Exterior changes (e.g. signage, new windows, demolition) may require a Certificate of Approval from our Historic District Commission.

Historic preservation can strengthen local economies, stabilize property values, foster civic beauty and community pride, and raise awareness of local and national history. Preservation of the properties within the Historic District is a primary goal of the Historic District Commission (HDC).

The Historic District Zoning Ordinance is a subset of the Town of Bristol’s Zoning Ordinance, and as a result there are some land use items that fall under the jurisdiction of both, in particular, signage and lighting. For instance, the size and number of signs on a property are regulated town-wide — including within the Historic District — by the town’s Zoning Ordinance. However, within the Historic District, sign design is regulated by the Historic District Ordinance. Thus, in some cases, for certain changes made in the District, approval is necessary from both the town’s Historic District Commission and the Planning Board.

Historic District Commission Certificate of Approval is generally needed for:

  • Signs *if Land Use Department deems necessary
  • New Structures
  • New Construction/Additions/Dormers/Skylights
  • Outbuildings
  • Exterior Work and Maintenance on: doors, gutters, lighting, masonry, paint, porches, columns, roofs, railings, decking and stains, screenings, shutters, awnings, siding, trim, windows, decks, terraces, landscaping, fences and walls
  • Demolition

For more information about this or questions on whether you need to meet with the Historic District Commission, please refer to the Certificate of Approval Forms and Instructions or consult with the Land Use Office.


Staff Contacts

Name Title Phone
Donna Sullivan Land Use Administrative Assistant 603-744-3354 ext 117
Joanne Bailey Land Use Manager 603-744-3354 ext 112

Commission Members

Dorcas Gordon


Kyle Sandler

Vice Chair

Steve Favorite


Select Board Rep

Alternate Select Board Rep

Lucille Keegan