The Historic Zoning Commission in Jonesborough has the responsibility to ensure that buildings and structures within Jonesborough’s H-1 and H-2 Historic Zones maintain an attractive appearance, and that historic buildings and structures maintain their character and structural and architectural integrity. The Jonesborough Historic Zoning Commission is the oldest such commission in Tennessee, and over its 45 years of service it has developed a reputation as being one of the most effective historic zoning commissions in the State. Jonesborough has buildings dating back to the 1770’s and the preservation and continued existence of Jonesborough’s historic structures is of critical importance to the state and nation as well as the local community.
Jonesborough has been named a Distinctive Destination by the National Trust for Historic Preservation.
Preserve America Community
Jonesborough has been named a Preserve America Community by the White House through the National Park Service.
The Historic Zoning Commission has the authority to approve all exterior changes to all structures and the exterior maintenance of structures within the historic districts, including such things as paint color, re-roofing, storm windows, storm doors, and exterior lighting as well as building additions. The Commission’s authority is not to choose colors or make proposals, but to approve or disapprove proposals submitted based on the Commission’s written Standard and Guidelines. Certain tasks can be approved by the Historic Zoning Commission’s Expediting Committee which, for certain actions like re-painting the same color, can provide almost immediate approval without a formal meeting of the Commission.
Historic Standards and Guidelines
Enabling legislation by the State of Tennessee provides the authority of the Historic Zoning Commission to adopt Standards and Guidelines for construction and repair work taking place on buildings and structures within the historic districts in Jonesborough. These formally adopted guidelines developed by the Commission have also been given the approval of the Board of Mayor and Aldermen and provide the basis in which different aspects of renovation and restoration work within the historic zones is evaluated and deemed to be appropriate. For a current copy of the Jonesborough Historic Zoning Commission’s Building Standards and Guidelines Overlay 1 and Overlay 2.
Signage on buildings and windows of structures within the historic districts must be approved in advance by the Historic Zoning Commission. The Commission has adopted Advertising Standards and Guidelines which are used to determine the appropriateness of sign submittals. These Advertising Standards and Guidelines have also been approved by the Jonesborough Board of Mayor and Aldermen. Advertising Standards and Guidelines.
The Town of Jonesborough has an Outdoor Use Permit process that can allow sandwich board type signage on sidewalks within the historic districts. The initial step in this process is to obtain approval of the sign to be placed on public property by the Historic Zoning Commission. There is a second step that includes working with the Building Inspector on the actual location for placing the sign and reviewing the sign construction. Applications and guidelines for the Outdoor Use Permit this can also be obtained from the Building Inspector.
The Heritage Alliance of Northeast Tennessee and Southwest Virginia is located in Jonesborough, and their offices are located in the Historic Duncan House behind the Jonesborough Visitors Center at 212 E Sabine Drive. The Heritage Alliance operates a building materials warehouse on Depot Street in which it stores old doors, windows, bricks, mantles and a wide variety of materials from old structures. These materials can be purchased at very reasonable prices, and building owners looking for the right materials to make a repair or improvement are encouraged to contact the Heritage Alliance at 423.753.9580. Also a number of members of the Historic Zoning Commission are excellent resources on where to get quality new materials for restorations.
The Town of Jonesborough’s Outdoor Use Permit process includes more than the approval of sandwich board type signage located on public sidewalks and open spaces. The Town also will consider proposals to place tables and chairs and other types of street furnishings on public sidewalks. The process includes submitting the design of the furnishings to Historic Zoning to receive approval of a Certificate of Appropriateness. The process also includes a layout of the exact location where items will be placed. This layout is submitted to and reviewed by the Building Inspector. The Building Inspector will also need to review the structural integrity of the items placed on public property. The Town wants to ensure the safety of pedestrians, and must maintain adequate passage for pedestrians including those in wheelchairs. Building or business owners do not have to seek approval of outdoor flower pots or arrangements, that butt up against a building. However, any bench or chair on public property must be permitted in advance through an Outdoor Use Permit. There is no charge for the permit and applications can be obtained from the Building Inspector at Town Hall. Outdoor Use Area Policy
Many members of the Historic Zoning Commission are excellent resources on restoration, repair, and maintenance of historic buildings. Members are glad to help residents or building owners look at options for improvements, and to provide information on the most appropriate cost effective methods of making repairs. Some members keep contracting information as a service to building owners, so information can be communicated on contractor satisfaction by other owners undertaking improvements as well as contractor expertise in various restoration techniques.
While the Historic Zoning Commission does not review interior renovation plans in privately owned buildings, some members are a great resource to building owners who are interested in preserving the character and integrity of the interiors of their building. Requests for technical assistance on exterior and interior improvements are welcomed, should be directed to the Commission Chairman, and will prove most helpful if initiated before submittal of an application for a Certificate of Appropriateness to the Historic Zoning Commission.
Construction work within the town limits of Jonesborough requires a building permit. In order for the Jonesborough Building Inspector to issue a building permit within the historic zones for exterior work, the work to be undertaken must be approved by the Historic Zoning Commission and a Certificate of Appropriateness issued. The Certificate of Appropriateness to the Historic Zoning Commission is normally issued at the Zoning Commission meeting in which the work has been approved. Failure to obtain the required permits can result in fines being issued for each day of violation.
Information on tax credits that can be obtained for improvements to historic structures in which the improvements meet the federal “Secretary’s Standards for Historic Preservation” can be obtained by contacting the Chairman of the Historic Zoning Commission.
The Jonesborough Historic Zoning Commission meets twice a month during months of January – October. Meetings during these months are held at 7 pm on the second and fourth Thursdays of each month. The meetings are held in the Board Room at Town Hall, 123 Boone Street in Jonesborough.
Meetings of the Jonesborough Historic Zoning Commission during holiday months of November and December are normally held only on the second Thursday of those months. These meetings are held at 7 pm in the Board Room at Town Hall, and all meetings are open to the public.
Persons wishing to appear before the Historic Zoning Commission can do so by contacting the Commission Chairman.
Chairman of Historic Zoning
Zac Jenkins 423.571.5003
Brian Tapp 423.753.1035