Historic Preservation Commission (HPC)

Purpose

The Historic Preservation Commission (HPC) administers the Historic Districts Ordinance and protects historic areas of the City. The Commission reviews requests for erection, reconstruction, alteration, or demolition affecting any structure on the Historic Buildings Map or in a Historic District.

Meetings

HPC meetings are the 3rd Monday (4th Monday if a holiday falls on the 3rd) of each month at 4:00 p.m. in the 2nd floor training room of City Hall. Meetings are broadcast live on Facebook and can also be viewed here.

View the 2024 Historic Preservation Commission meeting dates and deadlines

Members

The members of the HPC shall be appointed by the City Council, typically in June. The HPC has seven members and at least one architect or an architectural historian; one owner/resident of property in a historic district that is defined as a neighborhood but excludes single-structure districts; and two meeting the Professional Standards Qualifications used by the National Park Service and published in the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR), 36 CFR Part 61. There shall be no more than one appointee engaged in buying and selling of or investment in real estate. All members shall have a demonstrated interest, competence, and knowledge in historic preservation.

Reference: Ordinance O-86-130 adopted 6-10-86; City Code Sections 35.2-58 and 35.2-100.9; HPC Professional Qualifications Standards (PDF)

  • Shanda Horner, Chair, Advocate for Daniel's Hill
  • Michael J. Erquiaga, Vice-Chair, Advocate for Garland Hill and Pierce Street Renaissance
  • Peter Alexander, Advocate for Federal Hill
  • Julie Arrington, Advocate for Middle Rivermont and Lower Rivermont
  • Tracey Langseth, Advocate for Courthouse Hill
  • Emmett Lifsey (Architect), Advocate for Upper Rivermont
  • Dr. Gerry Sherayko, Advocate for Diamond Hill

View the 2024 Historic Preservation Commission Roster

HPC Bylaws

View the HPC Bylaws - Revised 7/18/22

Contacts

Staff support for the HPC is provided by the Department of Community Development's Planning Division. Eve Mergenthaler serves as Secretary to the HPC. 

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 view the Historic Preservation Commission roster.

Review by the HPC

Certificates of Appropriateness (COAs)

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 by the HPC Secretary. Examples of minor actions include repainting, 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.

The COA application is available online. Printed versions are available in the first floor permitting center of City Hall, 900 Church Street or may be mailed to you upon request. The completed form, with adequate supplemental information, must be submitted to the HPC's Secretary at least 15 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.

Design Guidelines

The HPC has adopted Residential Design Review Guidelines built upon the History of Lynchburg, the Secretary of the Interior's Standards for Rehabilitation, and Commercial Historic Districts Design Guidelines for Downtown Lynchburg. These guidelines contain specific criteria and generally accepted preservation standards for appropriate rehabilitation work, new construction, and demolition in Lynchburg's designated historic districts. These design guidelines assist property owners in preserving, maintaining, and enhancing the appearance of their historic properties; keeping up property values; and improving the livability of historic areas. Hard copies of the guidelines are available for review at the Department of Community Development's Planning Division. The HPC's review and your historic district advocate can provide help in understanding the guidelines.