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What is a Historic District?


A historic preservation district, as applied to our village, is an officially recognized area representative of several periods or styles of architecture typical of different eras of history. The guidelines are set by the United States Department of the Interior and the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation.  An application of the municipality must be made to this state office, which includes an exhaustive survey of each property within a designated district to ensure that historic preservation criteria are met.  


Why was the Village of Lancaster Historic District designated?


The Village of Lancaster Historic District has one of the richest concentrations of buildings-both commercial and residential-of significant architectural value in Erie County.  To preserve this rich diversity, application was made to the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation to be recognized as a historic district.  State criteria were satisfied, and the Village of Lancaster Historic District was sanctioned.  Residents within the district must adhere to preservation guidelines established by the U.S. Department of the Interior. 


What is the purpose of the Commission?


The general purpose of the commission is to promote historic preservation in Lancaster.  The Commission consists of seven members and three designated alternates to be appointed, to the extent available in the community, by the Mayor.


What does the Commission do?


  • Designate identified structures or resources as landmarks and historic districts within the Village.

  • Review applications for Certificate of Appropriateness (CoA) for proposed changes to exterior work on structures in the Historic District or Landmarked properties.

  • Provide public education of the value of historic, cultural and architectural preservation.


What Are the Criteria for Designation of a Property as a Landmark?


    A.  The Commission may designate an individual property as a landmark if it:

        (1) Possesses special character or historic or aesthetic interest or value as part of the cultural, political, economic or social history of the locality, region, state or nation; or

        (2) Is identified with historic personages; or

        (3) Embodies the distinguishing characteristics of an architectural style; or

        (4) Is the work of a designer whose work has significantly influenced an age; or

        (5) Because of a unique location or singular physical characteristic, represents an established and familiar visual feature of the neighborhood.

    B.  Historic districts.

        (1) The Commission may designate a group of properties as an historic district if they:

            (a)  Contain properties which meet one or more of the criteria for designation of a landmark.

            (b)  By reason of possessing such qualities, they constitute a district section of the Village.

        (2) The boundaries of each historic district designated henceforth shall be specified in detail and shall be filed, in writing, in  the Village Clerk’s office for public inspection.

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