Historic District Information for Business Owners

Governance

The City of Abbeville is proud to have a Historic Overlay District which is governed by the City Council and the Historic Properties Protection Commission. Within the boundaries of this district, which can be seen below, exterior changes to buildings are required to either obtain Staff or Commission Approval.  

The below guidelines are used when evaluating request:

  1. Is a proposed change compatible with the historic structures and character of the district?
  2. Are the rights and investments of property owners being protected?
  3. Are uniform and objective standards being used in evaluations?
  4. Will this help protect the architectural heritage of Abbeville for future generations?

Letter from the Zoning Administrator

Downtown

To view the City's Complete Zoning Map follow the below link:

Zoning Map

City Staff are able to approve the following changes to the Exterior of Buildings:

  • Minor Work - Simple repairs to existing building fabric using similar means of replacing the material with like-materials as would have been employed at the time the historic material was used. Other minor work that can be approved by staff include but are not limited to: 
    • Additions or New Construction not visible from street 
    • Awnings and Canopies (New Installation) 
    • Curb Cuts 
    • New Decorative Shutters 
    • New Garage Doors (Any location or Change in Material or Size) 
    • Equipment (Antennas, Satellite Dish 18” or less, HVAC, Refrigeration Unit, Exterior Exhaust etc.) 
    • Replacement of Non-historic materials with Original Configuration 
    • Mechanical Systems (New or Relocation) 
    • Pools (Rear Façade Only) 
    • Re-Pointing, Repair of Masonry 
    • Site and Landscaping Lighting 
    • Solar Collectors, Sky Lights (Install new, any location) 
    • Steps (Install new, any location) 
    • Windows (Replace, same material, size, shape, configuration, any location) 
    • Roofing (retaining original design and material type) 
    • Fences or gates, new or change in materials 
    • Gutters & downspouts, gutter covers replaced with new materials  
    • Windows and Doors within existing openings (Retain original size/design) 
    • Siding and masonry repairs using like materials 
    • Porch rails, decking and skirting (retain original design) 
    • Temporary Signage 
    • Permanent Signage which meets the Zoning Ordinance 
    • The repair of streets and sidewalks using like materials 
    • Paint changes on pre-painted buildings 
    • Any additional minor change that uses the new materials, size, design and location

 Review by the Historic Properties Protection Commission:

The HPPC Board Review process is limited to major changes to the exterior of structures located in the local Historic District. Applications are discussed at scheduled meetings and approvals are called “Certificates of Appropriateness” or COA’s. The HPPC makes every effort to work with applicants to achieve mutually beneficial outcomes. 

  • Major Work – Changes in contextual site and setting that require meeting with the commission with documentation include but are not limited to: 
    • Additions / New Construction visible from street/new, any size, or demolition 
    • Decks, Patios and Porches that are new and visible from the street / with structure 
    • Demolitions (Part or all of structure) 
    • New Doors, Garages or Windows requiring a change in opening 
    • Exterior Siding if replacing with new materials
    • Storefront facades, bulkhead, displays (repair, removed, reconstruct, new or new opening), Entry Doors (New or New Opening), Transom Windows 
    • Fountains that are new or visible from street 
    • Relocation of building or structure 
    • Change shape of roof 
    • Sheds 
    • Private walkways (New construction, new materials, and relocation) 
    • Plaques & Murals 
    • Storm Windows and Storm Doors (New Installation) 
    • Trim (New, change in size, design or repair with new materials) 

Building/Business owners should fill out a Certificate of Appropriateness and turn it into to the City Zoning Office when requesting permission to proceed with Minor or Major Work.  The Zoning Office is located inside the Fire/Police Complex at 102 S. Main.

For more information please visit the City of Abbeville Building and Zoning Page.

Incentives

In addition to the Governance Structure outlined above, numerous grants and other incentives are available to Downtown Building and Business Owners.  For more information on those programs please follow the links below:

Small Business Incentives

Entrepreneurial Resources

Bailey Bill Incentive

Vacant Buildings

Vacant buildings can become a major cause and source of blight in the City’s Historic Overlay District, especially when the owner or responsible party of the building fails to actively maintain and manage the building to ensure it does not become a liability to neighboring properties. Neglect of vacant buildings creates a risk of fire, explosion, or flooding for the vacant building and adjacent properties.

As such, owners of vacant buildings within the City's Historic District are required to register their building as vacant by July 31st of each year. An inspection fee of $50 will be due at the time of the registration. Upon registration, the Building Official will coordinate the inspection of the building. If the building is found to be in compliance with the applicable requirements, the annual vacant building fee will be waived. Should the property not be in compliance, the annual vacant building fee will be required to be paid in full. 

Vacant Building Requirements:

The interiors, when visible to passersby through storefront windows, shall be maintained in a way that does not exhibit evidence of vacancy, including trash, debris or stored materials or goods.

All awnings and signs must not appear worn, tattered or have missing areas.

Broken windows shall be replaced or re-glazed. Windows shall not be boarded up, except as a temporary security measure were approved by the Code Enforcement Officer.

The building’s structural integrity, roof, and electrical infrastructure will be maintained according to the City’s Associated Policy based on the International Property Maintenance Code.

Exemptions:

Properties undergoing active renovations shall be exempt from the annual vacant building fee. Buildings shall only be considered to be undergoing renovations if a building permit has been obtained from the Abbeville County Building Department and reasonable progress is being made towards the completion of the renovation. Once the renovation work is completed, the renovation exemption will no longer apply.

A one-year grace period from the vacant building fee will be given to any building purchased after January 1, 2024.

Networking Opportunities

Downtown Abbeville Merchants Association

Greater Abbeville Chamber of Commerce