What is a "Certificate of Appropriateness"?

A Certificate of Appropriateness is what homeowners within a local historic district, or those with a historic overlay property, must apply for in order to make changes to their buildings. The Historic District Commission has the sole authority to grant or deny an application for a certificate of appropriateness.

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1. What is the difference between a local historic district and a national register district or place?
2. What is the difference between the Historic District Commission and the Historical Society?
3. What determines whether or not a building is historic?
4. What is a "Certificate of Appropriateness"?