200 S. Hough Street  Barrington, IL 60010 | (847) 304-3400

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Historic Overlay District 

Developed in 2001, the Historic Overlay District is intended to protect and preserve historical areas of the Village and individual structures and sites within this area having historic, architectural or cultural significance. It is also intended to ensure that any new development or redevelopment and the subdivision of lots within the Historic Overlay District is compatible with the character of the District. In addition, the District is intended to enhance the appeal of the Village’s central historic neighborhoods as distinctive areas and to enhance property values within the District.

Exterior modifications to all contributing and non-contributing structures in the Historic Overlay District require approval by the Architectural Review Commission, except for, smaller projects such as replacement roofs or windows, which may be approved administratively if deemed appropriate by the Zoning Official as long as no historic or original materials are being removed from the structure.

All exterior modification to structures or sites within the Historic Overlay District requires a Certificate of Appropriateness, in addition to a Building Permit.

Contributing Structures

Contributing structures are designated based on the following criteria:

  • Significance in local, regional, state or national history, architecture, engineering or culture associated with at least one (1) of the following:
    • They are associated with the events of the lives of persons that have made a significant contribution to the broad patterns of our history; or
    • They embody the distinctive characteristics of a type, period or method of construction, or that represent the work of a master, or that possess high artistic values or that represent a significant and distinguishable entity whose components may lack individual distinction; or
    • They exemplify elements of our culture, economic, social or historical heritage; or
    • They have yielded, or are likely to yield, information important in prehistory or history.
  • Physical integrity of the property in terms of architectural design, setting, materials, workmanship, character and association as defined by the National Park Service for the National Register of Historic Places.
  • Contributing structures or sites shall be at least fifty (50) years old, or if not at least fifty (50) years old, have achieved exceptional importance or significance within the past fifty (50) years.

Noncontributing Structures

Structure or sites, which do not meet the criteria listed above, constitute non-contributing properties.

Historic District FAQ

Are there any resources for property owners who need help with preservation resources?

The organization, Landmarks Illinois, maintains a database called the Illinois Restoration Resource Directory.

Who reviews changes I want to make to my house if it is in the Historic Overlay District?

The Architectural Review Commission is charged with the review of proposed changes to the exterior of buildings within the Historic Overlay District.  A Certificate of Appropriateness will be issued if your project is approved.  Following the approval and issuance of a Certificate of Appropriateness you can apply for a building permit for your project.  

Can I put an addition on my historic home?

Yes, usually you can provided the proposal is fully compliant with all zoning regulations and the Historic Overlay District Desgin Guidelines.  The Village encourages proeprty owners to contact the Historic District Staff Liason to discuss your proposal early in the design process (Jennifer Tennant (847) 304-3462 or jtennant@barrington-il.gov).  Property owners are also welcome and encouraged to meet with the ARC early in the design process to get feedback on design ideas prior to finalizing designs and plans.  The addition should be compatible with the existing architecture of your house and appropriate for the  streetscape in your area.   Additions also must comply with all zoning requirements and obtain building permits prior to construction.   Please reference the Historic Overlay District Design Guidelines for more information on additions and other exterior projects or improvements. 

If my building is located in the Historic District and I am constructing an addition or exterior alteration, what would I have to do?

Before acquiring the building permit for your addition, you would present your plans to the Architectural Review Commission. The Commission would review the proposed plans to make sure that they are appropriate and comply with all Historic Overlay District regulations.  A Certificate of Appropriateness (COA) is issued upon approval of the project by the Architectural Review Commission.   You can apply for your building permit following the issuance of a COA for your project.

Is there a fee for a Certificate of Appropriateness?

There is no fee to apply for a Certificate of Appropriateness.  

How long does the process take?

The ARC review proces to obtain a Certificate of Appropriateness generally takes 60-90 days which typicaly includes a preliminary review meeting and a final review meeting depending on the scope of your project.  A Certificate of Appropriateness could require additional processing time if your project also requires additional approvals such as a Zoning Variation or Planned Development. 

Is a Certificate of Appropriateness all I need?

No.  You still must obtain an approved building permit as required by the Village of Barrington. 

Can I put up wallpaper and remodel the interior without ARC review and a Certificate of Appropriateness?

The Architectural Review Commission has no jurisdiction on the interior of historic properties, just the exterior. 

Do I need permission for ordinary maintenance to my house?

You do not need ARC approval to make minor repairs to your home.  However, a permit may still be necessary therefore please contact Staff to discuss any exterior projects.   Please be advised that removal and replacement of existing designs, materials, etc. may not be approved depending on whether those elements are in compliance with the current Historic Overlay District regulations.  

If my house is in the Historic District can I paint it any color I want?

Yes. The Architectural Review Commission does not conduct paint color review, but the Historic Overlay District Design Guidelines (Section 21: Paint and Paint Colors) provide direction on colors appropriate to certain architectural styles.

Is there historical information about my house?

Yes, the Village maintains a digital database of historic property surveys. The Barrington Area Historical Society may also have information regarding your property. 

Is this just another level of bureaucracy?

While it is true that an additional step is needed for some projects, the benefits of protecting the architectural heritage found in the Village of Barrington outweigh this added step. The Village of Barrington is home to many historic structures built in the late 1800s and early 1900s. Without a local historic district, these gems that have lasted so long could be demolished or irreparably altered tomorrow. 

Is my home within the Historic Overlay District?

In order to determine if your property is within the Historic Overlay District, view the Historic Overlay District Map and/or Historic District Survey. The survey designates the classification (contributing or non-contributing) of all primary and accessory structures on the property.

Jennifer Tennant

Assistant Director of Development Services

(847) 304-3462


Example of Historic Preservation

Historic Overlay District

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Design Guidelines

Historic Overlay Survey


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