Shawn M. Morse
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City of Cohoes
97 Mohawk Street
Cohoes, NY 12047

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May 26, 2018
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Building and Planning  
Technical Historical Preservation Guidance  
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The Historic Preservation Field Services Bureau of the Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation, known as the State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO), administers state and federal preservation programs in New York State. Using the national preservation program as its framework, our office identifies, evaluates and protects historic properties, offers incentives for their preservation, and provides support and assistance to preservation activities statewide. At the forefront of our mission in carrying out these activities is preservation advocacy and education.

The SHPO technical staff provides guidance and advice in the restoration, rehabilitation and maintenance of historic properties. In this publication, we have identified typical categories of work, issues and treatments that occur in historic preservation projects, as well as preservation recommendations for each category. This information covers work common to most preservation projects; however, all items may not pertain to your specific project. Please call us at (518) 237-8643 if we can be of further assistance.

The SHPO handles a variety of projects ranging from housing to accessibility to new additions on historic buildings. Our involvement usually is triggered by state and federal laws protecting historic properties and/or state and federal programs which provide financial incentives for preservation. We evaluate projects using federal preservation standards, known as the Secretary of the Interior?s Standards for the Treatment of Historic Properties. The Standards cover specific preservation treatments and approaches; their overriding philosophy is to maximize retention of historic features, materials, and spaces and minimize alterations. The intent of the Standards--to assure the long-term preservation of historic properties--can be summarized in general preservation principles that should be considered in planning work at any historic property. These preservation principles are:

* Retain distinguishing qualities and characteristics.
* Repair existing features, materials, and elements. If deteriorated, replace in-kind.
* Be authentic: if a feature is missing, use historic documentation to guide restoration.
* Respect the evolution of historic changes, fashion, taste and use.
* Do not use treatments that damage historic materials.
* New construction should not destroy historic materials or characteristics. Additions and new    work should be compatible with the historic property.


Masonry: Cleaning, Repointing and Repair
Cladding and Siding
New Exterior Construction and Related Demolition

Design Features, Finishes and Materials
New Interior Construction and Related Demolition

HVAC Systems
Plumbing and Electrical

New York State Building Code
Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)

Photos, Plans, and Narrative Description of Work
Preservation Tax Credits Application Checklist



A property?s exterior envelope provides protection from the elements, and to a large extent conveys a structure?s historic character. The age, style and significance of a structure can often be easily understood by analyzing exterior design, materials and features. Exterior changes in taste, fashion, architectural style and use may also be evident. In any preservation project, it is critical that the exterior be treated carefully. The following information describes typical preservation treatments and approaches for the repair and maintenance of a building?s exterior.


Roofs are more than simply the structure protecting the interior of a building from the elements: they can be significant design features, notable for their shape, height, configuration and materials. Historic roofing materials are important characteristic elements of a building, defining overall style, and reflecting the age and design of the property. As with all historic materials, emphasis should be on retention and repair. Many materials, such as slate or tile, if carefully maintained, can last for many years, and may need only careful attention and repair. However, since the roof is constantly exposed to the elements,, it may reach a point where partial or major replacement is necessary. If this is the case, the historic materials should be replaced in-kind, matching the existing in color, texture, size and other visual qualities. The best course of action in maintaining a roof is periodic inspection and repair. Gutter and flashing failure plus lack of proper maintenance is often the culprit in a leaky roof. Owners should carefully examine gutters, leaders, valleys and flashing before determining that wholesale roof replacement is necessary. Any repairs at these areas should be made using materials and techniques meant to last long-term, not simply a short term ?fix?. Other materials, such as roofing compounds, do not solve the real problem, are subject to early failure and can be unsightly.


As with all historic materials, frequent evaluation, and careful maintenance of historic masonry can solve minor problems before they become large expensive repairs.


When planning to clean an historic building, the initial assessment should evaluate the historic material, the reason for cleaning and the cleaning method. Cleaning should be undertaken only where dirt or other material obscures significant architectural features or is causing or has the potential to cause damage to masonry materials. Cleaning should not remove the patina which is evidence of a structure?s history and age, and should never be performed for the sole purpose of achieving a ?new? appearance. Cleaning methods should never exceed 150-200 psi., since higher pressures can damage historic masonry units and mortar. Abrasive methods such as sandblasting should never be used. They are extremely damaging to historic materials in that they accelerate the deterioration of historic masonry materials, and can greatly change a building?s appearance. If masonry surfaces were painted historically, they should remain painted. This coating could have a specific protective function or play a part in the historic design and appearance which should be maintained. If the covering is non-historic and deemed appropriate for removal, it should be removed as gently as possible. We generally recommend that test patches be made, beginning with the lowest recommended concentration and working upward to find the appropriate level. Water pressures should not exceed 150-200 psi.


Repointing is the term used for repair of deteriorated mortar joints. This is done by removing any old, deteriorated mortar and replacing it with new. Repointing can be important to the continued sound physical condition of a building and has the potential to affect the appearance of historic masonry. The removal of deteriorated mortar should be undertaken only where absolutely necessary, where mortar is eroded or crumbling. Work should be performed using handheld, non-power tools, since power tools such as masonry saws have the potential to damage masonry units. Complete repointing is seldom necessary, nor is it a good preservation treatment. New mortar should match the historic in strength, composition, color, texture and all other qualities. Prepackaged ?masonry cements? generally contain large amounts of Portland cement, and produce a very strong mortar that can be damaging to softer historic bricks. If mortar analysis is no undertaken to determine the composition of the original mortar, the following soft, lime-rich mortar mix is appropriate for use on most historic masonry: 1 part white Portland cement 3 parts Type S hydrated lime 6 parts sand with no admixtures A color match should be achieved by using and appropriate colored sand to the greatest extent possible, since modern mortar pigments can weaken masonry if used in large quantities. Equally important is the appearance of the new mortar joints. New joints should match the historic in width, tooling, texture and profile. Special character-defining joints such as ?ruled? or ?grapevine? should be repaired or reproduced carefully.


Masonry materials may require repair as well as repointing. Appropriate techniques will vary according to the specific material. Damaged brick units are difficult to repair. If replacement is necessary, new units should match the existing in size, color, texture, and all other qualities. This can be done by using new or salvaged brick. Historic stone materials that are damaged should be treated carefully. In keeping with the preservation Standards , the best approach is repair. Replacement should only be considered if the material is deteriorated beyond repair. Where cracked, spalled, or exfoliated, limestone, sandstone, marble, terra cotta, cast stone or concrete materials should be repaired to prevent further damage. The type of stone and the type and extent of damage should be determined before the repair method is chosen and the repair should be carefully executed to match the damaged material. Our office can provide information on appropriate specific treatments for historic masonry materials.


Historic cladding materials are highly visible and significant features of a building?s exterior. Different materials such as clapboard, shingles, pressed metal, stucco and tile were used in various historic periods, and in many cases relate specifically to a particular style. Therefore, preservation and repair of historic sheathing materials is important to maintain the character of historic buildings. Periodic inspections should be made to assess the condition of the cladding, and any necessary repairs undertaken immediately. This can prevent any damage or deterioration from becoming widespread, and save money in the long run. Any work should be carefully planned to have the least physical impact on cladding materials. Any cleaning should be undertaken using careful, non-abrasive techniques. High pressure blasting using either water or abrasives can be very damaging to historic materials, and should not be used. If the cladding material requires painting or caulking, this treatment will serve as its primary weathershield. Painted surfaces should be well maintained. As with all historic material, damaged sections should be replaced in-kind to match the historic in all visual and physical qualities.


The installation of vinyl or aluminum siding materials over historic cladding or replacement of historic materials with vinyl or aluminum is not an appropriate preservation treatment. Synthetic materials seriously alter the historic appearance and character of a building in many ways: the width of the siding often does not match clapboard width, shadow reveals are reduced, and trim is frequently changed or removed at cornices, corners, windows and doors. Historic surface treatments such as decorative shingles or vergeboards, as well as other materials and patterns, may be completely obscured or destroyed. Moreover, synthetic siding has the potential to cause serious long term damage to the building. There are also serious technical and maintenance issues to consider. Foremost among these is the accelerated deterioration of structural elements from moisture trapped unnoticed behind the new siding. This moisture can drastically decrease the efficiency of insulation. Related interior consequences include peeling paint, wallpaper, and cracked wall surfaces. Siding materials are also problematic because repair will almost always be noticeable--the colors can fade over time and products may be changed or discontinued. When properly maintained, historic cladding materials such as clapboard and shingles are durable and serviceable; their existence on thousands of historic structures after decades of service is proof that they are economic and long-term alternatives. Their repair is strongly recommended.


Historic windows are among the most important features in defining a building?s character, and proper treatment is extremely important. Frequent maintenance now can prevent expensive headaches later: historic windows should be periodically inspected and properly maintained. A painted wood window relies on its paint for weather protection. Without paint, the extremes of heat, cold, sunlight and moisture can quickly act on the exterior frame and sash, damaging the wood. Therefore inspection of the windows along with appropriate scraping, priming and painting should be foremost in any maintenance plan. If inspection of window unit reveals repairable damage or deterioration, existing window sash and frames should be retained and repaired rather than replaced whenever possible. Unlike modern metal replacement windows, historic wood units were constructed so that damaged portions could be repaired or replaced one part at a time. The damaged portion of a window component should be replaced with material matching the original. This approach results in cost savings for the building owner. Replacement of an entire window unit is appropriate only when it is deteriorated beyond repair. The new windows should match the originals in material, finish, configuration, setback, profiles and all other visual and reflective qualities. Historic metal sash windows are likewise important features that should be retained and repaired of possible. Steel and metal windows have their own sets of problems and treatments, but specific guidance is available through our office. In buildings such as historic factory complexes, rows of large historic windows contribute to exterior character and should be repaired and retained.


Storefronts ate highly visible features of historic commercial buildings and every effort should be made to preserve and rehabilitate intact historic examples. Since facades were often changed to suit stylistic changes, the current storefront may not be original to the building. However, many of these ?later? storefronts are significant in their own right--for example, Art Deco features on a 19th century building. These important features are a record of changes made over time within a community or neighborhood. General periodic inspection and maintenance is key to the long life of any storefront system. Appropriate painting, caulking and repair should be undertaken as soon as any problems are identified. A prompt response to minor problems can prevent major repairs later. Historic storefront installations should be retained, even where no commercial use is proposed in the re-use. Where a storefront is missing, restoration of the original is appropriate provided it is based on conclusive physical or documentary evidence (not conjecture!). If both the storefront and the basis for restoration is missing, then the use of simple, generic and compatible storefront features is appropriate. These features typically include simple framing and panels, large glass areas and transom units, cornices, signboards and simple doors. Appropriate materials, configurations, and proportions will vary depending upon the style and significant features of the structure and the historic district.


New exterior construction and related demolition at historic properties can be a serious preservation issue. Just as historic buildings vary, new construction should be individually tailored to the historic building and its site. Our office is always happy to provide assistance in new construction projects and has developed general guidelines. The primary objective is to determine if the property can accept exterior change without impact to the historic design, materials and site. Some buildings cannot accept new exterior additions due to these considerations. A side or rear secondary elevation is usually the best location for additions, provided it is removed from primary, character-defining historic elevations. Any new addition should not impact or change the general perception of the building?s historic design. As part of this, it should be designed in a manner that is compatible with the architectural character of the historic building, using materials that match the historic. The real challenge, however, comes in ensuring that the new addition is compatible without being a carbon copy of the historic building. While it should be clear to the casual observer that the addition is new and not historic, the design and materials must respect and reflect the original building.


New rooftop construction is an extremely sensitive issue in a preservation project and is seldom approved. Rooftop additions are inappropriate at most historic properties because they can seriously change the height, profile, and overall exterior character of a building. Any proposed construction will be reviewed for its overall visibility from all viewpoints. The few successful rooftop additions are small in scale and footprint, held away from the building?s perimeter, with few sight lines from nearby streets and other vantage points. The exceptions are elevator overruns and areas of fire refuge which involve minor changes and are therefore usually acceptable.


Demolition should be kept to an absolutely minimum in a preservation project and limited to secondary areas or areas of extreme deterioration. Any demolition should be carefully planned to minimize impacts on historic features, materials and floorplans.


The historic character of a building does not stop at the exterior. The interior plan, features and materials all reflect a building?s historic style, design and significance. Continuing maintenance is key to preserving interior historic materials, because prevents small problem from becoming large ones. It should be noted that unlike many local preservation commissions which only review exteriors, the SHPO is charged with the review of both historic interiors and exteriors.


Floorplans are very important in defining historic character. The wide variety of plans, from domestic to commercial to institutional, are indicative of historic use and overall style. Parlors, hallways, offices, classrooms, auditoriums and public spaces all contribute to the character of their respective building types and should be retained in a preservation project. Historic plan treatment is extremely important and we encourage early consultation with our office while the project is in the planning stages. The appropriateness of interior changes can be analyzed by using a hierarchical approach that ?ranks? the significance of spaces in a building. In residential buildings, there are usually ?private? and ?public? spaces, reflecting the need for formal functional areas and private individual living spaces. For example, there are often stairhalls and parlors on the main floor, and bedrooms, closets and service areas on upper floors or in rear areas. In institutional buildings, the distinctions are not so clear, since the entire building could have been meant for ?public? uses. Even in these however, there is a hierarchy in areas such as main hallways, classrooms, auditoriums, and smaller offices, storage and mechanical areas. The ?public? areas should be treated carefully because they often convey the essential historic character of the building. If the historic plan is largely or wholly intact, plan changes should be largely limited to secondary, non-significant areas. Character defining ?public? areas should be retained: the proposed use, program and plan should not alter the primary existing historic plan. There may be features or materials, such as woodwork, doors and mantels, however, that should be treated carefully even in those areas.


Floorplans are only part of historic interior character: wall and ceiling materials, doors, woodwork, decorative plaster, stained glass, mantels and finishes are all important features. Often interiors exhibit a mix of historic styles and materials which reflect changes in use and taste. The addition of an early 20th century interior within a 19th century building, for example, is part of the building?s history and worthy of preservation. All sound and repairable interior features should be retained and repaired. If damaged or deteriorated beyond repair, the best approach is to replace the features or finishes in-kind. Another kind of interior feature--ceiling height--helps convey historic character, because it defines spatial characteristics, volume, proportion and light. Ceilings should be maintained at--or restored to--original heights. The installation of new ceilings at lower heights is not appropriate, especially when windows, doors, archways, columns, balconies and spatial qualities are affected. Limited areas of lowered ceiling may be appropriate in secondary areas to accommodate mechanical systems, but all primary ceilings and those abutting windows should remain at full height.


Historic rehabilitation may require some new construction and limited amounts of demolition. This work should take place at secondary or non-significant spaces and areas to minimize its impact. New interior work should be compatible with the existing historic character. Exact duplication of historic materials and elements is discouraged to avoid confusion between historic and new. Where new walls or other partitions are planned, an appropriate approach is to use new trim and woodwork matching the historic in scale, material, and general profile. Demolition should be kept to a minimum, and limited to secondary areas or areas of extreme deterioration. Since this always involves the removal of historic material, it should be considered carefully and planned to have the least possible impact on the historic building.


The introduction of new heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems into historic buildings should be handled carefully so that it has the least possible impact. If new ducting is necessary, a good preservation approach is to keep it as an exposed element within the space, or within a minimal soffit along the wall. New elements such as baseboard heating systems should be carefully installed without altering historic woodwork or other materials. Through-the-wall HVAC units are usually not appropriate, because they involve demolition and could be highly visible on the exterior.


Any new necessary plumbing or electrical work should be planned to have the least possible impact. Existing chases and channels can provide opportunities to conceal new work. New systems should be consolidated if possible, keeping the impact extremely localized and minimal. New soffits or channels can be appropriate if located in secondary areas with little impact on significant material and spaces.


Most historic rehabilitation projects include proposals for weatherization. The goal of appropriate weatherization measures is to increase the thermal efficiency of the overall building envelope with minimal impact on historic fabric. Weatherization treatments have the potential to obscure, alter or destroy historic features, but careful planning can mean retention of character-defining features and added savings. The following techniques often meet these criteria and should be explored first: extra insulation at attic, ceiling and basement locations; caulking and high quality weatherstripping; efficient mechanical systems; insulation of ducting or piping to minimize heat loss; and additional glazing.


If insulation of wall surfaces is necessary after all other options have been explored, materials which provide the greatest R-value with the least impact should be used. In projects where plaster or sheetrock must be removed, it is possible to install rolled insulation. It is critical that the relationship between wall surfaces and historic wood work not be altered. Owners should be aware that the introduction of insulation into wall cavities of historic frame buildings have the potential to cause short-and long-term damage to historic fabric. Heated air inside a building supports more moisture than cold, outside winter air. This warm air passes through uninsulated wall cavities and the moisture vapor then reaches dew point on the back side of exterior sheathing. Air movement within an uninsulated cavity causes this condensation to evaporate, and prevents dry rot. When wall cavities are insulated, moisture can become trapped within the insulation as it travels from interior to exterior. Without air movement, this moisture causes wet insulation, which yields no insulation value, and begins to rot framing members. This long term damage is unseen until it causes serious deterioration. In buildings where synthetic siding has been added the problem is exacerbated because the symptoms are hidden. To avoid moisture damage and insure maximum thermal efficiency, a proper vapor barrier must be provided on the warm side of all insulation materials, whether they are applied under flooring, in the attic or in the walls. This barrier prevents the passage of moisture through a wall and prevents its accumulation in the insulation. There are several ways to achieve a vapor barrier: foil facing material on fiberglass insulation; Kraft paper facing only if it is backed with a bituminous or tar-like coating (Kraft paper alone is not a vapor barrier); polyethylene sheeting placed between the insulation and new plaster or sheetrock; or ?vapor barrier paints? or other primers which provide a ?perm rating? of 1.0 or less, applied to plaster or sheetrock surfaces.


Historic repairable windows should never be replaced with new units simply as a weatherization measure. Most loss of thermal efficiency at a window occurs around a ?leaky? frame rather than through the sash itself. This can be addressed through simple weatherization techniques such as proper weatherstripping. These can greatly increase the energy efficiency of the overall building envelope and are always less costly than wholesale replacement of an entire window unit. In addition to weatherstripping, there are a variety of retrofit techniques that can provide thermal efficiency. These methods are less expensive than wholesale replacement and insure that the greatest amount of historic material is retained in the rehabilitation.


Storm window treatments help achieve increased thermal efficiency without removal of historic materials or features. Interior or exterior storms are fine, as long as they fill the window opening completely, without the use of spacers or filler panels. Stiles and meeting rails should align with those of the prime sash. Exterior storms should either be painted or acquire a factory applied finish matching that of the prime sash. Bronzed and ?silver? mill-finish treatments are not appropriate. Where interior storms are used, sufficient ventilation must be provided at the historic prime sash to avoid moisture condensation that will damage the historic unit. Exterior storms can be traditional wooden units, or more typical modern metal triple track units, provided they meet the guidelines mentioned above.



The New York State Building Code--the Uniform Fire Prevention and Building Code--provides basic regulations for new construction and existing buildings as well as safeguards for the safety and health of occupants and users of New York?s buildings. Most historic preservation projects trigger the code, especially in the areas of access, fire safety, use and construction requirements. Historic buildings were built before the advent of a uniform building code. Therefore, while they may be extremely well-built and sound, they might have materials, plans, or other things that do not meet modern codes. Conflict arises when a code triggering situation occurs, and the required work means alteration or removal of significant historic plan, material or other character defining features. In New York State, application of the code is triggered in three basic ways: change in a building?s use; work having a value greater than 50% of the building?s replacement value; or limited change to a specific section or part of a building (usually not including in-kind repair or maintenance). The New York State code allows a building owner to apply for a code variance when the code cannot be met. Variance requests are reviewed by regional Variance Boards, but the overall process is coordinated by the Department of State Codes Division in Albany. A variance is not a waiver or exemption from a code requirement. Rather, it presents an alternative or equivalent method (or methods) to achieve the same end result. This consideration of alternatives can be very successful in allowing historic material, plan or other aspects of a building?s historic character to remain. The ultimate goal it to be creative in providing safety and retaining historic character. The New York State Code also includes requirements for providing access for disabled persons. Similar to life safety, the code does provide for a variance process whenever conflicts arise between accessibility and historic preservation. This process is handled by the same local boards of review, and coordinated by the Albany office of the Department of State Codes Division.


With the passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA), basic levels of accessibility became an affirmative responsibility for almost all properties open to and used by the public. The ADA is comprehensive civil rights legislation. It prohibits discrimination against physically, mentally, visually and hearing impaired individuals in employment, telecommunications, public transportation, public accommodations, as well as state and local government programs and services. While the New York State Code has been amended o include many of ADA?s provisions, property owners still must consider both regulations. For example, the New York State Code addresses ADA?s provisions for new construction and alterations, but consultation with the SHPO in alteration projects, barrier removal and other anti-discrimination provisions are not required under the New York State Code. For the historic building owner, the ADA can present a considerable challenge: ADA does not exempt historic properties from compliance. Within the law are sections, or Titles that outline the law. Within two of those, Title 2 and Title 3, ADA requirements apply to three basic categories of property types: public accommodations, commercial facilities and local and state governmental entities. For more information, please contact our office and request the brochure ?The ADA and Historic Preservation?.


For SHPO review, we need to understand the existing conditions and proposal so that we can offer recommendations and assistance. Therefore, project submittals should contain adequate and clear documentation of the property before work begins as well as a thorough presentation of the proposed work. Our review is comparative: we examine the existing conditions and evaluate the proposed work based on that information. Without complete documentation, review is extremely difficult and in some cases may be impossible. When projects are completed prior to SHPO review, there may be ramifications for funding and other approvals. There are three major categories of documentation materials which are essential for most projects: floorplans and site plans, photographs, and a narrative description of work. Occasionally, material samples may also be requested.


Photographs are the basis for understanding existing conditions at an historic property. Before-rehabilitation photographs of all interior spaces and features and all exterior elevations should be taken. The photos should be keyed to floorplans or site plans as necessary, so that reviewers can understand the area and direction of view easily. Good quality black and white or color prints, and color photocopies are acceptable. Generally, Polaroid-type or other ?instant? formats do not provide enough detail to be useful for review.


Plans are almost always required to understand a project and should depict the existing condition of the building and site and any proposed changes. For clarity, it is best that these be prepared as separate drawing sets. If changes are proposed for the exterior of the building, elevation plans should also be submitted. Significant site work such as parking, ramps, and landscaping changes should be shown on a site plan. Section drawings may be necessary to show changes in ceiling height, new interior construction or other complex proposals.


The narrative should clearly describe the condition of existing features, and the proposed work, including the specific materials and methods of repair. The narrative should be as clear as possible. The best way to organize the narrative is by describing the existing material, feature or space and then describe the proposed work at that area.


Owners wishing to apply for the federal Historic Preservation Investment Tax Credit need to use the three part application, with supplementation plans and photos. We strongly encourage anyone pursuing tax credits to contact the SHPO early in the planning stages of your project so that we can discuss the application and help in its development. Also, it is rehabilitation prior to construction. The SHPO works with the property owner and/or architect throughout the project development and construction phases to help owners obtain tax credits. Part 1 is the ?Evaluation of Significance? and establishes the historic status of the building. To qualify, properties must be listed on the National Register of Historic Places or listed within 30 months of project completion. The Part 2 ?Description of Rehabilitation? is a detailed documentation of the existing conditions and the rehabilitation proposal. This proposal is evaluated using the Secretary?s Standards to determine whether it is consistent with the historic character of the structure. Following completion of the project, the ?Request for Certification of Completed Work,? commonly called the Part 3, is submitted documenting the completed condition of the building. If it is determined that the completed project is consistent with the Standards, the National Park Service issues final certification.


Following is a basic checklist for your project. The items included are typical work that should be addressed as part of any rehabilitation. If your project is being reviewed by the SHPO, this list is a guide to baseline review materials. It is not comprehensive, however; your project may involve other work not covered here.

Exterior (all elevations)
* Roofing and gutters
* Skylights * Trim
* Porch, stair and rail elements

Masonry (brick, stone, terra cotta, etc.)
* Existing finish
* Cleaning specifications, including materials and methods proposed
* Repointing specifications, including materials and methods
* Repair/replacement information
* Information about stain, paint, or other coatings used

* Existing Siding
* Repair/replacement information
* Finish treatments

* Existing conditions/materials
* Methods and materials for repair
* New storefront construction plans and elevations including design, materials and finishes

* Existing conditions/configurations
* Repair techniques
* New window materials/configurations, including comparative profiles between the original and    new
* Storm window location, type, material, finish and manufacturer?s literature

Additions, New Construction and Demolition
* Site plans, keyed photographs, and elevations
* Materials and finishes to be used
* Impact on historic property

* Existing Condition of exterior and interior doors

* Information establishing how new doors will be compatible with historic doors

HVAC (Heating, ventilating and air conditioning)
* Type
* Extent of piping and ducting and its impact on spaces, architectural features and exterior    elevations

* Type, location and methods of installation
* Impact on wall or ceiling surfaces and the resulting
* Vapor barrier installation

* Wall and ceiling materials and finishes
* Decorative finishes and moldings, including both plaster and wood
* Ceiling heights
* Floors
* Stairs
* Mantles and other architectural features

Plan and Elevation Changes
* Information describing any impact on historic spaces and features for exterior changes
* Elevation drawings describing materials, finishes, and colors
* If non-original alterations are to be removed, photographs and plans of these elements


The SHPO administers federal and state preservation programs for New York State. Below are brief descriptions of some of the programs, why they may apply to your project, and what you can expect from the SHPO.


Projects involving federal funds, licenses or permits are reviewed in accordance with Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966. This law requires Federal agencies to consider the effect of their undertakings on significant historic and cultural resources. Projects might include housing and commercial rehabilitation, new construction, road and bridge work, life safety and accessibility measures, and many others. The SHPO reviews these projects using the Secretary of the Interior?s Standards to ensure that the project does not destroy, significantly alter or negatively impact the architectural and historic features of the property. While there is no application form, a full project description (existing and proposed conditions) is needed to complete this review. Reviews are usually conducted within a 30 day timeframe. Projects that do not meet preservation Standards are subsequently reviewed by the federal Advisory Council on Historic Preservation in Washington D.C. We strongly encourage careful project planning and early consultation with our office.


In New York State, Section 14.09 of the New York State Parks, Recreation, and Historic Preservation Law is analogous to Section 106 of the federal law. This law applies to projects involving state funds, licenses or permits. The types of projects, timeframes and evaluation process parallel the federal program


Property owners and developers, as well as municipal officials should be aware of the provisions of the State Environmental Quality Review Act (SEQRA). SHPO review is triggered by local authorities in accordance with the regulations of the Department of the Environmental Conservation (DEC) and assesses the impact of projects on natural and man-made resources. Timeframes, materials and evaluation processes parallel the federal program.


The SHPO administers and coordinates the Investment Tax Credit program in New York State. Owners applying for this 20% tax credit should be aware that it applies only to income-producing properties listed or eligible for listing in the National Register of Historic Places. It does not include private homes. There is a specific application process, described elsewhere in this publication. All reviews are conducted by the SHPO and then by the National Park Service in Philadelphia. To qualify, the overall project must clearly meet the Secretary of the Interior?s Standards. For any of these programs, we encourage you to contact the State Historic Preservation Office in the early stages of your project. Projects carefully planned without input and submitted for review and comment before construction begins are the most successful. For any preservation project, regardless of funding, we encourage you to contact the office listed below. They are always glad to answer questions and assist on appropriate preservation techniques and treatments.

New York State Historic Preservation Office Technical Services Program: Clare W. Adams, Julian W. Adams, Anthony Opalka, and Jerry Brewington Call (518) 237-8643 for questions or comments.

General information may be obtained by calling the Building Department, Second Level, City Hall 233-2127 between the hours of 9 a.m. and 4 p.m., Monday through Friday. TOP^

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