Frequently Asked Questions
1. How do I apply for changes to the exterior of my building or new signage for my business?
In your planning process for exterior renovations, repairs, or signage you will need to either download and drop off or email the appropriate application to the HHDC office.
Email: email@example.com l Office: 219 E. Robert St., Hammond LA.
For the APPLICATION page, CLICK HERE.
Once you've turned in your application with it's accompanying materials (paint samples, signage renderings, building plans, etc.), you will attend the monthly HHDC meeting at 11:00 am every third Wednesday of the month (unless otherwise noted on the Commission calendar) at City Council Chambers, 312 E. Charles St. At this meeting you will present your application for the Commission to ask questions, discuss, and approve or request revisions.
2. When I go to replace my VINYL WINDOWS or VINYL SIDING, will I have to restore back to wood if I'm in the historic district?
The HHDC guidelines are concerned mostly with the maintenance of original fabric and original profile of a structure for the health of the building. However, where that fabric is long gone, there's no reason to return it - especially because wood windows today are inferior to the old growth wood windows of the past. Therefore, you will not be restricted from replacing your vinyl windows/siding with more of the same.
Please note though that historic wood windows are easier to repair than you think! If you have them on your house, it's not purely for aesthetic purposes that the guidelines say you keep them. They are integral for the health of your building and they'll last longer than other materials with a bit of upkeep. There are videos on how to repair and there are a lot of storm window options to help with the draft. Please refer to the research section if you would like to learn more!
3. Does being in a historic district mean I'm eligible for more TAX INCENTIVES?
There are 4 districts in Hammond that are relevant to this topic: The Downtown Development District, the Hammond Historic District, the Hammond Cultural District, and the Hammond National Register District. You may refer to the maps in our "Documents" tab to find out what districts your property is in.
Fortunately, a good portion of Hammond's downtown is within the boundary of the Cultural District. This makes those structures within the Cultural District eligible for state historic tax credits (20%). The National Register District, which is much smaller and within the Historic District, is eligible for federal historic tax credits (also 20%). A building that is both in the Cultural District and the National Register District (or otherwise designated on the National Register of Historic Places), it would be eligible to claim both those credits for 40% of the qualified rehabilitation costs returned in the form of tax credits. This is for commercial/income-earning properties. Residential tax credits are available as well, but at a different rate of return.
All tenants of the Historic District and/or the Downtown Development District are able to apply for a Restoration Tax Abatement (RTA). This allows a property to remain at its pre-rehabilitation property tax rate for up to 10 years after improvements to the structure/land.
That's just a brief summary to get you started, but there is a lot more to tax incentives! Feel free to check out the Louisiana State Historic Preservation Office website, our "Research" page, or contact the office at (985) 277 - 5684 for more information.
4. What's the difference between a NATIONAL REGISTER HISTORIC DISTRICT and a LOCAL HISTORIC DISTRICT?
Besides the tax credit eligibility for building rehabilitation discussed above, National Register Historic Districts exist for recognition and documentation purposes only. There are no restrictions or protections inherent to owning property in a National Register Historic District. This also applies to buildings that are individually listed on the National Register of Historic Places. These buildings are only beholden to the Secretary of the Interior's Standards for Rehabilitation if they are applying for tax credits.
Local Historic Districts, on the other hand, have certain guidelines and/or approval processes to help protect the character of the district. Some Local Historic Districts only require an application for demolition approval while others require a full interior and exterior renovation approval - no matter how small the project. Hammond's Local Historic District requires an application for all projects having to do with the exterior envelope of the building. This is 360 degree consideration, including the roof and rear elevation. Please refer to our design guidelines for more information. If you still have questions, feel free to contact the office - firstname.lastname@example.org.