The City of Canton
Historic Preservation Commission

Canton Design Guidelines

During the past few decades, interest in historic preservation and rehabilitation of historic structures has grown in the United States. Increasingly, people are realizing the value of historic structures and the contribution they make to a community, both aesthetically and economically. Canton has a significant collection of historic structures that represent a visual record of the architectural and social history of the city. These historic structures serve as links to the past and as tangible reminders of the people and events that shaped the development of the city. Canton has a story to tell about its past, and what better way to illustrate that story than through the cityís historic resources.

The purpose of the Canton Design Guidelines is to encourage historic preservation and high design standards in Cantonís historic districts in order to protect and promote the cityís architectural heritage and unique character. The guidelines provide general recommendations for preservation, rehabilitation, alteration, and new construction in Cantonís historic districts. The guidelines are written for property owners, architects, contractors, public officials, and members of the Canton Preservation Commission, which has the primary responsibility for managing change in the cityís historic districts. The guidelines are consistent with preservation principles established by the United States Department of Interior and expressed in the Secretary of Interiorís Standards for Rehabilitation. The Canton Design Guidelines address only the exterior of historic resources and focus on the architectural features that define the unique character of Canton.

The Canton Preservation Commission is responsible for regulating exterior changes in the cityís historic districts. The commission will use the Canton Design Guidelines and the Secretary of Interiorís Standards for Rehabilitation in making decisions about which changes are appropriate and which changes are inappropriate. Any property owner planning to construct a new building or contemplating changes to the exterior of a historic resource in the cityís historic review district must obtain a Certificate of Appropriateness before work can begin. If the proposed physical change is consistent with the Canton Design Guidelines and the Standards for Rehabilitation, the applicant will receive a Certificate of Appropriateness and work can begin once all permits are received from other city departments.

The Canton Design Guidelines, used in harmony with the Canton Preservation Ordinance, will assist the Canton Preservation Commission in protecting and preserving local historic resources. The guidelines do not provide case-specific advice or address exceptions; they are only a general guide for changes to historic structures and the design of new construction. The conditions and characteristics of each structure and the appropriateness of proposed alterations will be examined on a case-by-case basis. The final authority does not rest with the Canton Design Guidelines, but with the involved property owners, architects, contractors, municipal authorities, and members of the Canton Preservation Commission. They ultimately determine the appropriateness of changes within the historic review district. Ultimately, the preservation of Cantonís historic resources does not rely on ordinances or design guidelines, but on decisions made by the community and its citizens.



The Canton Design Guidelines are intended to be easy to use and to allow for quick reference of specific information. The guidelines are divided into topical sections with section headings at the top of every other page for easy reference. Each section is divided into subsections to locate specific information more quickly.

The Secretary of Interiorís Standards for Rehabilitation are incorporated into the guidelines to provide additional information and to consolidate as much information as possible in one publication. The Standards for Rehabilitation appear as shaded text within applicable topical sections. Boxed within the text are titles of applicable Preservation Briefs (National Park Service) that offer additional technical information. Copies of all Preservation Briefs are available in a companion notebook. The guidelines also include illustrations to clarify the text.

Included in the appendix is a glossary of terms, resources for additional information, and a list of professional organizations for consultation.



The Canton Historic Preservation Commission will use the Canton Design Guidelines as a guide to make decisions on applications submitted to the commission. Use of the guidelines will assist the commission in making consistent and fair decisions that are consistent with the Secretary of Interiorís Standards for Rehabilitation and sound preservation practice. Property owners, architects, and contractors can use the guidelines to plan their projects with reasonable assurance that their applications will be approved if the guidelines are followed. Since the commission reviews each application on a case by case basis, variances from the guidelines and omissions within the guidelines will be addressed by the Canton Preservation Commission.

2003 Canton Redevelopment Authority, All Rights Reserved