What is a local Historic District?
An Historic District is a special area established by City Ordinance, with defined boundaries, which contain a high concentration of historically and/or architecturally significant buildings.
The Historic District Commission meetings are held on the first Thursday of every month.
What are the advantages of a Historic District Ordinance?
A Historic District Ordinance can
(1) safeguard the heritage of the City by preserving and regulating historic landmarks and districts which reflect elements of its cultural, social, political, and architectural history,
(2) Preserve and enhance the quality of the neighborhoods,
(3) establish and preserve property values,
(4) Promote the use of historic landmarks and districts for the culture, prosperity, education, and welfare of the people of the City and visitors to the City of Opelousas.
What is the role of the Historic District Commission (HDC)?
The HDC is a group of local citizens who act as the governing authority of the Historic District. Who are its members? There are nine members on the commission. Each member is appointed by the Mayor and serves a four year term. A member can be reappointed. All members serve as volunteers.
When does the HD Commission meet?
Meetings are held at 4:00 p.m. on the 1st Thursday of the month at the Opelousas Tourism office. If needed, special meetings are also scheduled.
When making renovations to property anywhere in the city, a permit must be obtained from the Office of Code Enforcement. When these renovations involve property in the Historic District, the applicant must also submit an application for a Certificate of Appropriateness to Code Enforcement.
What kinds of projects require a Certificate of Appropriateness?
Any new construction, reconstruction, demolition, or moving of a building that requires a building permit, or any changes in material or appearance of the exterior of the property, would require a certificate of appropriateness. Examples include removal of a porch, adding a window or changing its original configuration, putting an extension onto a house, changing siding or roofing type, or site change such as moving a driveway or building a fence. While the HD Ordinance does address building façade surfaces, it does not restrict any paint color choices. It also does not restrict any renovations to the inside of the building(s).
What do I need to do to apply for a Certificate of Appropriateness?
The necessary forms are available at the Code Enforcement Office located inside the Municipal Plaza on 105 N. Main Street, Opelousas, LA. Applications should include: The completed application form itself with as much detailed information as possible. •A drawing or pictures of the proposed changes (called an “elevation”). A drawing or picture of the existing structures.
When will my application be reviewed and when will I learn the results?
Your application will be reviewed at the first regularly scheduled meeting after the first of the month in which you have submitted the application. Upon approval of a Certificate of Appropriateness, applicants are generally notified in 5-7 business days. If your application is not complete or additional information is needed, you will be contacted to provide that information.
Can I attend the meeting?
Yes. The HDC encourages applicants to attend the meeting at which their application is reviewed in order to answer any questions or provide additional information without delay.
What if I disagree with the Commission’s recommendations?
If the applicant disagrees with the Commission’s recommendations, the applicant can appeal to the Opelousas City Council at their next regularly scheduled meeting. The applicant must contact the Mayor’s office in order to be put on the agenda and must notify the HDC of its plans to appeal so that members of the HDC can be present at the City Council meeting.
Where do I go if I need assistance?
City staff is available to assist you throughout your application process. If you have any questions about the City of Opelousas Historic District or would like to obtain a copy of the Ordinance, please contact the Office of Tourism at (337) 948-5227 or Code Enforcement at (337) 948-2533.
- Brief Overview of Historic District Ordinance
- Historic District Certificate of Appropriateness Application
- Historic District Ordinance
- Historic District Detailed Description of Boundaries
- Historic District Map Area 1
- Historic District Map Areas 2-4
- Secretary of Interior Guidelines for Preservation, Rehabilitation, Restoration, and Reconstruction