The City of Allentown has adopted new design guidelines for Allentown’s Historic Districts: Old Allentown, Old Fairgrounds and West Park.

The new Design Guidelines were adopted by the Historic Architecture Review Board in June and City Council amended the Historic District Ordinance to reference the Design Guidelines in July.  The new guidelines are now available on-line.   All recommendations for the issuance of Certificates of Appropriateness moving forward will be based upon meeting the new Design Guidelines. The adoption of the Design Guidelines is the end product of a nearly year-long project that involved numerous public meetings.

According to HARB Chairperson Shane Fillman, “Allentown’s historic districts are a valuable and important cultural resource of the city. I’d like to thank the residents and property owners of the historic districts who participated in the public workshops. Their input has been invaluable. This document will serve as an invaluable guide to Historic District residents and property owners as well as a decision making tool for the HARB. We wanted to create a user friendly document that explains the HARB process and makes it easy to do the right thing. I think we have accomplished that with this publication.”

“HARB did a great job doing the research by getting public input, and they have produced a great document,” said Mayor Pawlowski.  “Protecting Allentown’s Architectural history is a priority, and the new guidelines will serve as a valuable guide for our residents.”

A new Design Guidelines publication provides instruction and guidance to help Historic District property owners and residents understand the HARB process and design expectations as well as provide guidance to city staff and members of the HARB. The package also provides greater flexibility for common alterations to be approved at staff level; clarifies the review and approval process; and places greater emphasis on primary facades of buildings while more flexibility is given to secondary/less visible facades.

The design guideline document is available on the city’s website at

Questions or comments should be directed to Mark Hartney at: or 610-437-7613.