Preservation of Historic Communities
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Trust Guidelines

Preservation Goals

The goal of an historic preservation easement is to permanently protect exterior architectural features of the historic building. Under the Easement, the easement donor must request Trust approval prior to making any change to the exterior of the building, or any extension of the building or new improvement on the property. Also, the easement donor is required to maintain the building to preserve its exterior and structural integrity.

The portion of the exterior that is protected will vary with the characteristics of the individual property and the time the easement was granted. Please contact the Trust prior to making any changes to review the extent of the exterior that is protected.


Trust approval is not required for maintenance or restoration unless it will change the appearance of the protected fa├žade.

Painting. Painting the building the same color as it was at the time the easement was donated is considered maintenance and does not require Trust approval. If you plan to change colors, Trust approval is required. We do not approve requests to paint unpainted brick or stone fa├žades.

Repairs of Windows, Entrance and Other Architectural Features. The Trust prefers that you repair rather than replace architectural features of the historic building. Preservation and repair of existing historic windows and entrances, and their component parts, including doors, porches, fanlights, sidelights, columns, and steps; observing the same form, style, size, profile, method of operation, color and using the same materials of the feature being repaired does not require Trust approval. However, if is it not possible to repair the architectural feature in the described way or replacement is necessary, because it is too deteriorated or the original materials are not available, contact the Trust to request change approval.

Temporary Additions. Temporary additions to the building exterior, such as window air conditioners and storm windows, do not require Trust approval.

Review Guidelines

The Trust will not allow any exterior change to the protected fa├žade that is inconsistent with the buildingÔÇÖs original historical character. In reviewing change requests, the Trust uses as its reference point standards set by the United States Department of Interior as a guide in its review of proposed changes. These guidelines are used nationally and can be found at or These guidelines take a pragmatic approach, understanding that a property with a donated easement is intended to remain a place that you wish to live or work. This approach is essential for the viability of the neighborhood.

Monitoring and Compliance

The Trust is responsible for ensuring that the historical and structural integrity of the property is preserved in perpetuity. The Trust carries out this responsibility through monitoring and enforcement.

Annual Inspection. We conduct an annual visual inspection and periodic ad hoc inspections of the property to monitor its condition. Our objective for the inspection is to ensure that unauthorized changes have not been made to the property and to detect any serious problems with the building that may require maintenance. To complete our annual review, we will take photographs of the propertyÔÇÖs exterior including the roofline and perform an on-site, visual inspection of the protected fa├žade. If the inspection does not require access to the property to view the protected fa├žade, this inspection should not require any effort or time by you. If access is required, we will contact you to set up a convenient time.

Telephone 202.328.5260  |  Fax 202.588.8391  |  Email