Design Review Process

When a property is designated as a local historic structure, it is protected from unsympathetic exterior alteration. Inappropriate exterior remodeling is the most common cause of loss of historic character. Although often well-intentioned, such alterations as the replacement of original window sash with modern units of unsympathetic design, the installation of vinyl or aluminum siding, or the removal of architectural features such as eave brackets, bargeboard, windows caps or porches destroy the architectural integrity of an old building and may actually lessen its resale value. Some alterations may even result in irreversible structural deterioration.

Unfortunate Consequences

To prevent these unfortunate consequences from occurring, property owners are required to submit for review any projects they wish to undertake which will affect the exterior appearance of their designated historic building. If the project is consistent with the historic character of the building, the Architectural Review Commission (or the CDA, where appropriate) will issue a Certificate of Appropriateness and no further historical review would be required. In the event that the Architectural Review Commission finds that a proposed project will violate the historic integrity of the building it will not grant approval for the work and will schedule a public hearing. Prior to the hearing, the Architectural Review Commission will attempt to negotiate changes to the project that will render it acceptable. If no acceptable compromise can be reached prior to or during the public hearing, the Architectural Review Commission will refuse to issue a Certificate of Appropriateness, with the result that the project cannot go forward. The aggrieved applicant may appeal to the Whitefish Bay Village Board, which may reverse or modify the decision by the Architectural Review Commission, although it is anticipated that this will rarely happen.

Educational Materials

The Whitefish Bay historic preservation commission anticipates providing educational materials to assist owners of historic properties in making modifications that are consistent with the historic character of historic buildings.