Step-by-Step Guide to Applying for a HAWP

Step 1 | Step 2 | Step 3 | Step 4 | Step 5

Step 1: Does your property require a Historic Area Work Permit?

Determine if your property is listed on the Locational Atlas or the Montgomery County Master Plan for Historic Preservation by contacting our office between 9:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. Monday-Friday.

  • If your property is not listed on the Locational Atlas or the Montgomery County Master Plan for Historic Preservation, then you do not need to obtain a Historic Area Work Permit (HAWP) and should contact the Montgomery County Department of Permitting Services to inquire about filing for any Building Permits that may be required by the County.
  • If your property is listed on the Locational Atlas or the Montgomery County Master Plan for Historic Preservation, then proceed to Step 2.

Step 2: Does your proposed work require a Historic Area Work Permit?

If you have established that your property is listed on the Locational Atlas or Montgomery County Master Plan for Historic Preservation in Step 1, now determine if the proposed work requires a Historic Area Work Permit.

In approaching possible alterations to your historic home, you may find it beneficial to review the Preservation Briefs offered by the National Park Service. The National Park Service has prepared over 40 Preservation Briefs since 1975, and they cover numerous topics from roofing to conserving energy to windows to paint. These booklets help homeowners, preservation professionals, organizations, and government agencies by providing easy-to read guidance on preserving, rehabilitating and restoring historic buildings. Preservation Briefs may be viewed online or ordered via the National Park Service website.

A HAWP is required to change the exterior features of a historic site or a building located in a historic district, this includes: moving, relocating, demolishing or altering exterior materials, substantially altering the environmental setting, grading, excavation and construction. Some common HAWP applications include:

  • installing fences and retaining walls
  • constructing additions
  • window replacement
  • tree removal
  • siding/roof replacement
  • paining masonry surfaces
  • demolish outbuildings (sheds, garages)
  • installing signs
  • install walkways and patios
  • construction of decks

A HAWP is not required for interior changes, ordinary maintenance, repair of exterior features (meaning retention of original materials), or selection of paint colors.

  • If you do not need to apply for a HAWP because your proposed work does not require it, then contact the Montgomery County Department of Permitting to inquire about filing for any Building Permits that may be required by the County.
  • If you do need to apply for a HAWP, then proceed to Step 3.

Step 3: Filing the Historic Area Work Permit Application Form

If your proposed work does require a Historic Area Work Permit (HAWP), you must apply for a HAWP before applying for a Building Permit. HAWP applications must be submitted to and procesed by The Department of Permitting Services (DPS). Your HAWP application requires the approval of the Montgomery County Historic Preservation Commission (HPC). The Historic Preservation Office is staffed by Preservation Planners who work for M-NCPPC, and you are encouraged to discuss proposals for major work with the staff before filing a HAWP to ensure a smooth process. For information or to make an appointment, call 301-563-3400.

To have your HAWP considered at the next HPC meeting, the firm deadline for filing a HAWP is the Wednesday three weeks prior to each meeting. HPC public meetings are typically held on the second and fourth Wednesdays of each month, and you may view a list of meeting dates for the remainder of the year to plan your application accordingly.

Please read the instructions below and return your HAWP application form to the Information Counter at the Montgomery County office of the Department of Permitting Services in Rockville, Maryland, located on the second floor of 255 Rockville Pike. If you have any questions about how to complete the form, please feel free to call us at 301-563–3400.

REMINDER: Many local government offices may need to review your proposed changes before you apply for a HAWP including, but not limited to, BrookevilleChevy Chase VillageGarrett ParkKensingtonSomerset , and Takoma Park. If applicable, please check with your municipality before applying for a HAWP.

Instructions for filing a HAWP Application (pdf)
Historic Area Work Permit Application (pdf)

Proceed to Step 4 to learn what happens to your HAWP application form after you file it.

Step 4: Consideration of your application by the Historic Preservation Commission

Historic Area Work Permit (HAWP) applications must be submitted to The Department of Permitting Services (DPS). DPS will send your HAWP application form to our Preservation Planners for review, comment and forwarding to the HPC for consideration. Some historic districts have Local Advisory Panels (groups of volunteer citizens) that assist the HPC by reviewing HAWP applications and forwarding comments for the public record.

Once your application has been scheduled for review by the HPC at a public meeting, you will be notified by mail of the scheduled meeting date, time, and location. Typically, HPC public meetings are held on the second and fourth Wednesdays of each month. You are expected to attend on the evening that your application is under consideration. Meetings are held in the first floor Auditorium at the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission building at 8787 Georgia Avenue, Silver Spring, Maryland.

Proceed to Step 5 to learn what happens to your HAWP application after consideration by the HPC.

Step 5: Post-consideration

If the HPC approves the HAWP application at the meeting, then the applicant is required to deliver three copies of the plans for the approved version of the project. Staff will stamp the appropriate plans to demonstrate offical approval. The applicant will then be able to return to the Department of Permitting Services for issuance of the HAWP.

  • If a Building Permit is not required for the project, the owner may commence work.
  • If a Building Permit is required for the project in addition to the HAWP, the applicant must provide 3 copies of the approved plans to the office of Historic Preservation for stamping. Applicants are required to present stamped plans to the Department of Permitting Services officials when obtaining a building permit.

If you are not satisfied with the decision of the HPC, you can submit a revised application to be reviewed by the HPC at a future meeting or appeal the decision to the County Board of Appeals 240-777-6600, which will hear the original application de novo (that is, starting fresh with a new hearing) and render its own decision.

Last Updated: November 15, 2018