Resources and Tools to Help Preserve Our History
Demolition Delay Ordinance
In 2020, Ridgefield passed a 90-day Demolition Delay Ordinance. This process increases the likelihood that historic structures will be saved by allowing time for property owners and community members to work through alternatives to demolition. The ordinance consists of a two-stage process: determination of whether a building or structure is architecturally, historically, and/or culturally significant, and whether a demolition delay should be imposed.
The Historical Society, along with the Historic District Commission, is formally notified of proposed building demolitions to allow time to present a case for preservation.
Certified Local Government
Ridgefield’s town government has a lively historic preservation component. In addition to two local historic districts, a Village District and an Architectural Advisory Committee, the town is also a Certified Local Government (CLG) which means it meets standards set forth by the Connecticut State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO) to qualify for technical assistance with preserving and advocating for the protection of historic resources. This includes historic sites, buildings, and structures, including those that may be threatened. Importantly, CLG’s are given higher priority for grant funding at the state level. Other organizations such as Preservation Connecticut supports the work of CLG’s by training staff and preservation commissioners as well as providing grants and technical assistance.
Financial Benefits to Preserving Historic Resources
The Federal Government and the State of Connecticut offer Tax Credits for qualified rehabilitation projects. In Connecticut, the Historic Homes Rehabilitation Tax Credit program offers homeowners and other entities a 30% tax credit, up to $30,000 per dwelling unit, for the rehabilitation of one to four family buildings. This is a significant opportunity that is often underutilized simply due to a lack of awareness. The Historic Rehabilitation Tax Credit is available for buildings with five or more dwelling units.
Listing of Properties on Historic Registers
One of the most prevalent misconceptions about listing your property on the National or State Register of Historic Places is that it imposes restrictions to alterations or demolition. Only properties that are within Ridgefield’s two Local Historic Districts and Village District (both created under State Statute) are subject to design review. Listing your property on the National or State Registers can provide financial benefits but are mostly honorary. Almost the entire commercial core of Ridgefield is listed on the National or State Registers, not to mention six others as well as individual properties.
Archaeological sites are the physical remains of previous human activity. These sites contain valuable information about the material culture and lives of the people who occupied the land before us and, often, offer clues and important artifacts invisible from the surface. The Historical Society is currently heading up a nationally significant Revolutionary-era site where skeletal remains were found.
Historic District Commission (HDC)
Ridgefield Village District
Ridgefield Architectural Advisory Committee
Connecticut State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO)
CT Certified Local Government Program (CLG)
Ridgefield’s Demolition Delay Ordinance
CT DECD Historic Preservation Tax Credits
National or State Registers