Historic districts and landmarks

What kind of protections does the county’s Historic Districts and Landmarks Ordinance provide for buildings that have received the landmark designation? (i.e., Can they be torn down, remodeled at will, moved, etc.?)

Steven Haasch, Chesterfield County Principal planner:

Thanks for the question.  The county’s Historic District and Landmark Ordinance was created to provide additional protection to historic properties over that offered by the State and National historic landmark registers.  Traditionally, the program has operated on a voluntary basis, with owners of historical properties desiring the recognition and protection offered by the county ordinance.  Since its inception in 1987, over 50 properties have received county historic landmark designation.

The county’s Landmark Ordinance protects county-designated historic properties through the Certificate of Appropriateness process.  The Certificate is granted by the Preservation Committee, the body that administers the ordinance.  The Certificate ensures that any changes to the appearance of landmark properties, outside of routine maintenance, are appropriate to the historic character of the property prior to the issuance of a building permit.  The Preservation Committee uses the Secretary of the Interior’s Standards for Rehabilitation as a general guiding document regarding renovations.  The general goal of the Committee is to review proposed alterations with the property owner to ensure that the historic structure remains usable to the owner while making quality, cost-effective alteration suggestions that maintain historic character.  It is important to note that interior modifications do not fall under this review. 

In addition, the Landmark Ordinance also seeks to delay the demolition of historic properties through a process that encourages the current owner to sell the historic landmark to another party for a reasonable price.  However, if the structure poses a threat to life, health or safety, a Certificate of Appropriateness may be issued authorizing demolition.

Do you have a question you would like a Chesterfield County official to answer? Please send your questions to info@villagepublishing.com.

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