Historic Preservation Overview & Reminder

Dear Residents,

As we look forward to nicer weather and begin to think about home improvement projects, I’d like to provide a brief overview of our Historic Preservation Commission. Twenty years ago, our community established the Historic Preservation Commission to preserve the character of the homes and businesses within the Historic District.

Please see the link below to the Historic Preservation Commission page on the Village website where you can find:

– Application for Certificate of Appropriateness

– Map of the Historic Preservation Overlay District

– Chapter 75 of the Village Code Book

– A list of properties located in the Historic District


Why do we have a Historic Preservation Commission? The purpose of the Historic Preservation Commission is to:

  • Protect and preserve the long-term preservation of the landmarks and historic districts which represent distinctive elements of Kinderhook’s historic, architectural, and cultural heritage.
  • Foster civic pride in the accomplishments of the past.
  • Protect and enhance Kinderhook’s attractiveness to residents, businesses, and visitors, and thereby support and stimulate the economy.
  • Insure the harmonious, orderly, and efficient growth and development of the Village.

Certificate of Appropriateness for Alteration, Demolition, or New Construction. For many home improvement projects, homeowners must obtain a building permit from the Village Code Enforcement Officer. For homes located within the Historic District, homeowners may need BOTH a building permit AND a Certificate of Appropriateness from the Historic Preservation Commission BEFORE commencing work.

There are approximately 625 homes and businesses within the Village of Kinderhook. 162 of them fall within the Historic District and must obtain a building permit and a Certificate of Appropriateness for exterior alterations visible from the public way.

For example, a homeowner on Gaffney Lane (not located in the Historic District) would need a building permit to replace windows on the front façade of their home. However, a homeowner on Albany Avenue (located in the Historic District) would need both a building permit and a Certificate of Appropriateness to replace the same windows.

As Chapter 75 of the Village Code states, “No building permit shall be issued nor shall any person commence any exterior alteration, restoration, reconstruction, demolition, new construction, or moving of any building or structure or any feature thereon on a landmark or property within a historic district that is visible from any public way, without first obtaining a certificate of appropriateness from the Historic Preservation Commission.”

Application Procedure. The application procedure begins with the Village Code Enforcement Officer. He will decide based on Village Code whether the work to be performed requires a building permit and/or a Certificate of Appropriateness.

If the work requires a Certificate of Appropriateness, the homeowner will need to submit an application to be reviewed by the Historic Preservation Commission.

It is important to note that HPC meetings fall under the NYS guidelines for open meetings. Members are required to discuss, debate, and decide on HPC matters openly, transparently, and publicly. HPC members CANNOT make official decisions or provide formal recommendations outside of regular meetings.

The HPC regularly conducts workshop meetings with homeowners to review their projects and provide recommendations BEFORE a homeowner officially submits an application to be reviewed. Our HPC members have extensive knowledge, experience, and education in historic preservation and architecture. They often spend a considerable amount of time working with homeowners to balance compatibility with the buildings unique historic style, the character of the surrounding district, and the preferences of the homeowner.

If you have any questions about whether your project falls under jurisdiction of the HPC, please contact the Code Enforcement Officer at ceo@villageofkinderhook.org or call the office at 518-758-8778.

Thank you! And finally, as noted on page 18 of the Village of Kinderhook Comprehensive Plan Update, 2016, the “Village has unique historical character and exceptional aesthetic beauty.” I want to extend my thanks to all the residents who have worked so hard to maintain this characteristic that enhances our quality of life.

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to email me at mayor@villageofkinderhook.org.