Historic Preservation Commission
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 City’s historic character. These voluntary members are appointed by the City Council for three-year terms and are architects, business owners, and homeowners.
When does the HPC meet?
The HPC holds regularly scheduled meetings on the third Monday of each month in City Hall. If a holiday falls on the third Monday of the month, the meeting is held on the fourth Monday. Meeting dates and submittal deadlines may also be found above.
Who can I contact with questions for or about the HPC?
Staff support for the HPC is provided by the Department of Community Development's Planning Division. Eve Mergenthaler 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 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.
How do I apply for a Certificate of Appropriateness (COA)?
The COA application is available online or you may pick one up from 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) 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 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.