Historic District Commission


The Rye, New Hampshire Zoning Ordinances set forth several purposes of the Rye Historic District Commission:

  1. to preserve the unique collections of historically, architecturally and culturally significant buildings and structures which characterize the Town of Rye, New Hampshire,
  2. to encourage their maintenance and restoration, and
  3. to insure that new buildings and structures and alterations to existing buildings and structures, and uses of buildings and structures within the District are in visual harmony with their neighbors in order that a district be preserved which will
    1. reflect the cultural, social, economic, political, and architectural history of the Town of Rye, New Hampshire,
    2. conserve and maintain property values in such District,
    3. foster civic beauty,
    4. strengthen the local economy, and
    5. generally provide an opportunity to benefit the education, pleasure and welfare of all the citizens of the municipality.

The Rye Historic District is that area of town from the west end of Grange Park to the intersection of Central and Washington Roads. The District also includes the Brackett Road Massacre Site, the historic Cable House and the Isles of Shoals islands which fall within the State of New Hampshire. The specific Isles included are White Island, Star Island, Seavey Island and Lunging Island [also known as Londoners Island]. The District is comprised of pre-revolutionary, federal  and  Victorian  residential,  commercial  and  municipal  buildings.  The structures date from 1724. The customary surface construction material is wood clapboard. The roof shape is peaked.

The Rye Historic District Commission has seven members appointed by the Board of Selectmen for staggered three-year terms: Co-Chair Philip D. Winslow (2014), Paula Merritt (2016), Mae Bradshaw (2015), Leo Axtin (2015), Daryl Kent (2016), Co-Chair Michael Mittelman (2014), and Selectmen’s Representative Joseph Mills, Jr. (2014). The Commission also may have five alternate members appointed for staggered three-year terms. Currently the alternates are Thomas King (2016), Chris Remick (2015) and Mark Josephs (2014).

The Historic District Commission is a regulatory land use Commission which votes on exterior changes to the buildings, fencing and signage within the defined District. Citizen residing within the District wishing to construct, alter, repair, move, demolish or change the exterior of a structure, must obtain a Certificate of Approval from the Historic District Commission before obtaining any other building permits. An exception exists for repairs which replace like materials which only requires notification be given to the Commission. Applications for a Certificate of Approval may be obtained from the Office of the Building Inspector located at Town Hall.

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