City of Binghamton, New York

Historic Design Review

All properties in locally designated Historic Districts and all designated Local Landmark Properties are required to get a Certificate of Appropriateness for any exterior modifications. The requirements for this design review are established in §18-78 of the City of Binghamton Code of Ordinances. "Exterior modifications" include: siding/walls/masonry, windows and doors, roofing materials, light fixtures, signs, awning, fences, steps, and other paving.

Major exterior modifications are reviewed by the Commission on Architecture and Urban Design (CAUD). The Commission typically meets the last Tuesday of each month, at 12:00 noon in the Planning Department Conference Room. Completed Design Review Applications are typically due the first Wednesday of every month to secure a place on the agenda of that months meeting.

Administrative Certificate of Appropriateness

Certain minor modifications may be eligible for an Administrative Certificate of Appropriateness, which is a staff level review. The following items may qualify for the administrative review:

  • Painting - exterior wood or metal, or previously painted masonry, with colors from color palettes as pre-approved by CAUD. CAUD has pre-approved the following color palettes: Sherwin-Williams Historic Collection,Benjamin Moore Historical Collection, and the National Trust for Historic Preservation colors. Applicants do not have to use these brands, just the colors they contain.
  • Roofing - provided the materials are substantially similar to the current roofing materials OR reinstallation of historically original roofing materials.
  • Minor Ornamentation (fascia, spindles, brackets, shutters, skirting, etc) - must be the same material and substantially similar to the existing OR reintroduction of historically appropriate ornamentation.
  • Masonry - repointing using an appropriate mortar with a joint to match the existing.
  • Light Fixtures - replacement of non-original fixtures with new fixtures of a period appropriate design OR ground lighting for the purposes of illumination of an existing sign.
  • Windows/Doors - replacement of deteriorated non-original windows/doors with new ones of a historically appropriate material and design (no modifications to the window/door opening) OR replacement of window/door elements (jambs, muntins, glazing, etc) with new materials to match the existing.
  • Mechanical - Installation of new mechanical systems provided they are not visible from the public right-of-way OR replacement of existing mechanical systems provided their footprint is not more than 10% larger than the existing unit. Mechanical includes, but is not limited to: HVAC, exterior vent pipes and exhaust systems, Electric Vehicle (EV) charging stations etc.
  • Awnings - replacement of awning covering on an existing frame with new canvas or treated fabric; awnings with signage do not qualify for staff review.
  • Accessibility Ramps - must meet ADA requirements, must not be visible from the public right-of-way, and must be designed and constructed to be compatible with the architecture and materials of the building.
  • Site Features - period appropriate fencing; in-kind replacement of existing steps with new steps of a period appropriate design; brick, stone, or concrete patios or other paved, non-vehicular areas which are not readily visible from the public right-of-way.

To qualify for an Administrative Certificate of Appropriateness, projects should conform to the City of Binghamton Historic Design Guidelines. Please contact the  City's Historic Preservation Planner if you have any questions regarding your application. If an Administrative Certificate of Appropriateness application is denied, the project is placed on the next available CAUD meeting agenda.