Yes, solar panels may be installed on a historic home. The Historic Preservation office is available for consultation on the most appropriate location.
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All proposed changes to the exterior of your property require consideration by the Preservation Office and are regulated by the City’s Unified Development Code which uses the Secretary of the Interior’s Standards for the Rehabilitation of Historic Properties as a guide to assess appropriateness. These Standards are used throughout the United States to determine the appropriateness of treatments for historic properties. Some examples of changes that are subject to city review include: replacing windows, siding, exterior doors, adding shutters, and adding architectural elements not original to the house, removing masonry or architectural elements, adding or removing porches, railings, chimneys, or removing historic architectural trims, adding or changing fencing and signage.
Maintenance to your property is not restricted if it does not involve changes to the structure, materials, or features. We recommend you consult the Historic Preservation Office to make sure your plans are considered general maintenance and you are using the best methods to preserve your building.
The city maintains the McKinney Historic Resource Inventory Survey that lists locally designated and contributing historic properties. A property does not have to be in a district to be considered a historic property; however, the property will not benefit from the overlay protection. You can check whether a property is "H" Overlay District residential area or commercial area by accessing the Historic District Map Online or by contacting the City Historic Preservation Office at 972-547-2000.
A property can have numerous types of designations or no designation at all. Not having a designation does not mean the property is not historic.
National Register Property is a historic property which can be a site, building, structure or object significant in American history, architecture, engineering, archeology or culture. These properties can be associated with events that have made significant contributions to broad patterns of history, associated with lives of persons significant in our past, embody distinctive characteristics of a type, period, method of construction, work of a master, etc. or have yielded or be likely to reveal important information about our prehistory or history. (Excerpted from the National Register Bulletin.) National Register Properties may qualify for Federal Income Tax exemptions and Collin County exemptions.
A Recorded Texas Historic Landmark (RTHL) is a state designation. You may get more information by reviewing the State of Texas RTHL webpage. Houses with a RTHL potentially qualify for a Collin County tax exemption. Owners of properties with an RTHL designation should notify the Texas Historic Commission prior to making changes to their properties.
A City of McKinney Historic Marker is a local designation awarded by the City of McKinney Historic Preservation Advisory Board. The owner of the house submits an application along with a documented history of the house and property. If the house is awarded a marker, then the house may qualify for a tax exemption for city property taxes.
Other houses and properties may be contributing to the Historic District. These properties contribute to the overall character and setting of the historic district. These buildings, like the other designated properties in the Historic Overlay are subject to the Certificate of Approval process in the City of McKinney. More about that process can be found on the McKinney Historic Resources webpage.
Technically, yes. The McKinney Historic Preservation Ordinance does not regulate paint colors in the Residential Area of the Historic Overlay District. However, it is strongly recommended that you don’t paint unpainted masonry (brick or stone). Should you want to remove paint from masonry, the Historic Preservation Office recommends that you not use abrasives, such as sandblasting or any other blasting method, but instead, consider a gentle paint removal techniques.
Changing paint colors in the Commercial Area does require an approved COA. The COA must be obtained for this prior to completing the work.
Fences are permitted but have slightly different regulations in the Historic District. The maximum height for a fence on rear and interior side yards in the historic district is 6’-8”. On the front yards and some side yards, the maximum height for the fence is 4’ with 50% transparency. All new fences or changes to the style, size, and location of a fence require a CoA and may require a permit. The City also requires a permit to install a fence.
Typically, no, as long as the materials and design are not changed, you do not need permission to paint, make repairs, or replace materials in-kind (replacing cedar shingles with cedar shingles, wood siding with matching wood siding, etc.) You should discuss your proposed plans with the Historic Preservation Office prior to commencing the repairs to make sure they are repairs and not work that would require a Certificate of Appropriateness.
We also recommend that owners confer with a historic preservation design professional. We cannot offer referrals to design professionals. The Historic Preservation Office staff is available by appointment to review preliminary designs. Please contact the Historic Preservation Office at 972-547-2000 to set up a meeting.
You are not required to restore your property. The property, however, should be maintained so as to not create a hazardous condition that would lead to the demolition of the property for public safety. Owner’s that allow their properties to deteriorate to a point at which they must be demolished may be subject to penalties under the “Demolition by Neglect” provisions in the Historic Preservation Ordinance. The provision states that no owner of real property that is designated as a landmark or located within a historic district shall permit the property to fall within a serious state of disrepair which would produce a detrimental effect upon the character of the historic district or the property and lead to the demolition of the property.
The Genealogy section of the Ray and Helen Hall Memorial Library in McKinney has many useful tools. The Historic Preservation Office has also created a short packet with information and resources on researching your historic home: Historic Marker Reference Information Packet.
The CSS portal will only accept pdfs of photos, drawings, and site plans. If your photographs are in the jpeg, jpg, png, or tiff format please upload them using the “Other/Miscellaneous Info” tab.