DCA & HDC: Explained

HDC & DCA: Give Us A Clue — What Do They Do?

By Debra Glennon

Similar initials, so you might think these two groups are related, but they’re not. They are entirely separate, independent organizations, and although they are similar in some ways, they each have very specific missions. So, what’s the difference? The DCA (Dilworth Community Association) is a volunteer organization created to protect and maintain the character of the Dilworth neighborhood. Begun in the late 1960s by a group of Dilworth residents who were concerned about the physical decline of the area, the DCA’s main goal is to enhance and improve the neighborhood. Run entirely by volunteers, the DCA acts on behalf of Dilworth’s residents for the common good of the neighborhood.

The DCA is NOT a homeowner’s association —everyone who lives or works in Dilworth is invited to become involved. There are no dues or fees to join; all activity funds are generated by yearly fundraising efforts (including the popular Home Tour). The DCA Board provides leadership, but the involvement of all Dilworth residents is vital to keeping Dilworth a lively and engaging place to be.

The HDC (Historic District Commission) is a body of citizens appointed by the Mayor and City Council to administer the Local Historic District Program, per the Charlotte Zoning Ordinance. In 1983, Dilworth was designated by City Council as Charlotte’s first local Historic District, in recognition of its importance in the history and character of the city. (There are now a total of six Historic Districts in the city.) The goal of the HDC is to encourage the preservation of historically and architecturally significant areas of Charlotte. The 13-member Historic District Commission and its staff work with property owners and businesses in the historic districts to assure that development and renovation occurs in a manner that is consistent with the character of the neighborhood. (The DCA’s Land Use Committee has a similar focus.) The HDC reviews all exterior work that is done within the Historic District. In order to receive approval (a Certificate of Appropriateness), a proposed renovation or new construction must be seen as compatible with the neighborhood. For more information on the HDC, here’s a link to the city’s website:

And to make it even more confusing, the DCA and the HDC have different geographic limits. The neighborhood of Dilworth is a bit larger than the Historic District portion of Dilworth. This is because the Historic District is limited to houses that were built within a certain time period. That’s why the neighborhood has two different types of signs—the large green ones show the limits of the Dilworth neighborhood, and the small ones on top of the street signs indicating the limits of the Historic District.

Published in the Dilworth Quarterly, 4th quarter, 2011, p. 19-20.