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Georgetown Historic Planning

Downtown and Old Town Overlay Design Guidelines Update

Purpose of this Update:

We are updating the Design Guidelines for our Historic Districts – help connect our past to our future!

In April 2019 the Georgetown City Council adopted changes to the Certificate of Appropriateness review requirements, which you can read in Ordinance 2019-21.  Certificates of Appropriateness are required for projects in the Historic Overlay Districts . Changes include the review of new residential construction, the review of requests for demolition or relocation of historic structures and the use of materials. This update will incorporate Council’s changes, as well other updates and improvements for document usability.

Changes to the Historic District Design Guidelines are here!

You spoke up about how you see our historic areas. We listened, and we want to make sure we got it right. The public hearing on the proposed amendments to the Design Guidelines with the City Council was held on Tuesday, July 13 at 6:00pm. A video recording of the meeting is available at and it is item AA on the agenda.

If you have questions about the update or would like to provide feedback, please call the Downtown & Historic Planner at (512) 930-3581, email or visit the Planning Department at 809 Martin Luther King Jr. Street, across from City Hall.

City Council voted to approve the changes to the Design Guidelines with four amendments. The changes and amendments will be considered for a second time by the City Council in their regular meeting on Tuesday, July 27, 2021 at 6:00pm. Please click the links below to see the proposed changes:

To view the current Design Guidelines please click here.

How You Can Participate:

Please share your thoughts with us! We would like to know what you think about the current Design Guidelines, what you love about the historic districts and what you want to make sure we know as we go through this project. Please check this page for project updates and links to any virtual meetings, and scroll down for ways to contact us.

Please contact us if you have questions or would like to provide input! Contact info below!

Project Timeline:

We are approaching the project in three phases:

  • Here’s what we have – understanding the character and structures that makes our historic districts so special!
  • Here’s what we love: The things we want to still be here in 75-100 years!
  • Here’s how we protect that in the future: A draft version of the updated Guidelines for review and comment before it is presented to the City Council for adoption!

Upcoming Dates:

  • Design Guidelines Final Draft currently available to the public for review and feedback.
  • The City Council is scheduled to hold a second reading of an ordinance amending the Design Guidelines on July 27 at 6:00pm in City Council Chambers. The agenda will be posted the Wednesday prior to the meeting at

Who to Contact if you have Questions:

  • Call the Planning Department (512) 930-3575
  • Call the Historic Planner (512) 930-3581
  • Email the Historic Planner
  • Visit the Planning Department Office at 809 Martin Luther King Jr. Street

What Has Happened So Far:


  • How do I know if I live in a historic district?
    • You can use the interactive web map, click here and enter your address in the bar at the top left of the screen.
  • What are the Design Guidelines?
    • Guidance for exterior changes to structures within the designated Downtown and Old Town historic overlay districts. You can read them by clicking here.
  • What parts of the Design Guidelines are being updated?
    • how to treat or replace historic materials
    • how new construction can be compatible with the historic districts
    • what kind of building modifications will help keep the historic character of Downtown and Old Town 
    • what kind of commercial signage will be a good fit for our historic districts
    • graphics and images used in the document
  • How will this affect my property?
    • Changes to properties in the historic overlay districts are regulated by the Design Guidelines through the Certificate of Appropriateness process. The Design Guidelines apply to new projects and changes to existing properties.
  • Will this project give HARC more or less authority?
    • The authority of the Historic and Architectural Review Commission (HARC) is granted by the City Council through the bylaws of the Commission. This Update is not intended to change that authority.
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