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Historic Districts Code Sections:
- Certificates of Appropriateness process (Section 35.2-13)
- Historic Districts (Section 35.2-58)
- Historic Preservation Commission (HPC) (Section 35.2-100.9)
What is the Historic Preservation Commission (HPC)?
The Historic Districts Ordinance is administered by the HPC, which is composed of seven Lynchburg residents who have a knowledge of and interest in the preservation of the historic character of the City. The members, whose service on the HPC is voluntary, are appointed by the City Council for three-year terms. The HPC holds regularly scheduled meetings on the third Monday of each month in City Hall. Holidays in January and February typically fall on the third Monday of those months. Those two meetings are typically held on the fourth Monday of January and February. Staff support for the HPC is provided by the Department of Community Development's Planning Division. Anne Nygaard is the Secretary to the Historic Preservation Commission and can be contacted by phone at 434-455-3900 or email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Tom Martin, the City Planner, is also available to answer questions at 434-455-3900 or by email at email@example.com.
The HPC has an advocacy program in which each member is responsible for providing assistance to citizens of a particular historic district. If you are a property owner or a resident of a historic district, the advocate for your district is available to help you with the application process as needed. To find out who your advocate is, please consult the Historic Preservation Commission roster.
What needs to be reviewed?
The Historic Districts Ordinance requires that the HPC issue a Certificate of Appropriateness (COA) before a building located in a historic district can be erected, reconstructed, restored, demolished, or altered in any way that affects its external appearance. A COA is also required for certain changes made to the grounds and signs. Certain minor actions, which do not permanently affect the character of the property or the historic district, may not have to be reviewed by the HPC, but these actions must be approved through the HPC Secretary. Examples of minor actions include repainting, adding television or radio antennas, adding or changing storm windows or doors and repairs using like materials and like designs. The HPC Secretary may impose certain conditions. You may also need to obtain other City permits such as building or sign permits.
How do I apply for a Certificate of Appropriateness (COA)?
The application is available at the link below or you may pick up an application for a COA at the Department of Community Development, second floor, City Hall, 900 Church Street. The completed form must be submitted to the HPC's Secretary at least fifteen (15) business days prior to a regularly scheduled meeting per Section 35.2-13.4 of the Zoning Ordinance. There are no application fees. It is required for COA applicants or their representatives to be present at the HPC meeting to answer any questions from the HPC members.
What guidelines are used by the HPC?
The HPC has adopted Residential Historic Districts Design Guidelines. Building on the History of Lynchburg, the Secretary of the Interior's Standards for Rehabilitation, and the Commercial Historic Districts Design Guidelines for Downtown Lynchburg, which were developed specifically for Lynchburg's historic commercial buildings, these guidelines are designed to ensure that alterations and new construction will be compatible with the buildings in the historic districts. Copies of the guidelines are available for review at the Department of Community Development's Planning Division. The HPC's review and the advocate for your historic district can provide help in understanding the guidelines.
Are There Any Financial Incentives or Tax Benefits for Rehabilitation?
The City of Lynchburg, and other organizations and agencies offer programs at the city, state and federal levels for renovating and maintaining buildings, both residential and commercial, within the City of Lynchburg. You may find it to your advantage to apply for more than one incentive program. To find out more information about the programs that are available, please contact Tom Martin at 434-455-3900 or firstname.lastname@example.org.