Fredericksburg Historic District Ordinance
DIVISION 23. OLD AND HISTORIC FREDERICKSBURG DISTRICT* (HFD)
*State law references: Historic resources, Code of Virginia, § 10.1-2200 et seq.; Virginia Historic Preservation Foundation, Code of Virginia, § 10.1-2400 et seq; preservation of historical sites and architectural areas, Code of Virginia, § 15.2-2306.
Sec. 78-751. Purpose and intent.
(a) The Old and Historic Fredericksburg district (HFD) is established for the purpose of promoting the general welfare, education, and recreational benefit of the public through the recognition of this area of the city as having historic, architectural, and cultural significance. Regulations of the HFD are intended to protect, restore, and preserve the architectural integrity of existing structures, to create an atmosphere for compatible growth for the future, to prevent the intrusion of environmental influences adverse to such purposes, and to ensure that new structures and uses will be in keeping with the character of the HFD.
(Code 1991, § 14-586)
(b) The HFD is also intended to recognize, protect and preserve the abundant evidences of the city's industrial history, including, but not limited to, mill sites, canals, locks, dams, and similar structures located along the Rappahannock River, both within and outside the designated HFD.
(c) The criteria for inclusion in the HFD are districts, structures, and sites that:
(1) Are associated with events that have made a significant contribution to the broad pattern of history;
(2) Are associated with the lives of persons significant in the past;
(3) Embody the distinctive characteristics of a type, period, or method of construction, represent the work of a master, possess exceptional artistic value, or represent a significant and distinguishable entity whose components may lack individual distinction; or
(4) Have yielded, or may be likely to yield, information important in prehistory or history.
Sec. 78-752. Effect of overlay district; components of district.
(a) The HFD shall be in addition to and shall overlay all other zoning districts where it is applied so that any parcel of land lying within the HFD shall also lie within one or more zoning districts established by this article. The effect shall be to create new districts sharing the characteristics and limitations of the underlying districts, together with the characteristics and limitations of the overlying HFD.
(Code 1991, § 14-587; Ord. No. 99-15, § III, 7-27-1999; Ord. No. 00-02, § III, 3-28-2000; Ord. No. 01-14, § III, 7-14-2001)
(b) The HFD shall consist of the following components:
(1) Downtown historic district. This component shall consist of that contiguous area along the Rappahannock River known generally as the historic downtown area and being more particularly described on that portion of the official zoning map of the city consisting of a map entitled "City of Fredericksburg, Virginia, Official Zoning Overlay Map, Old and Historic Fredericksburg District Boundary."
(c) The boundaries of the HFD, as set forth in this section and on the official zoning map of the city, shall also be delineated on the official tax maps of the city.
(2) Old mill historic district. This component shall consist of all those lots or parcels of land containing the following historic sites and being more particularly described on that portion of the official zoning map of the city consisting of a map entitled "City of Fredericksburg, Virginia, Official Zoning Overlay Map, Downtown Historic District Boundary":
a. C. W. Wilder & Company Silk Mill/Klotz Throwing Company.
(3) Old Walker-Grant historic district. This component shall consist of the contiguous area extending generally from Dunmore Street south to Hazel Run and from Dixon Street at Charles Street to the CSX Railroad right-of-way, as more particularly described on that portion of the official zoning map of the city consisting of a map entitled "City of Fredericksburg, Virginia, Official Zoning Overlay Map, Old and Historic Fredericksburg District Boundary."
b. Embrey Power Plant.
c. Washington Woolen Mills.
d. City Electric Light Works.
e. Germania Mills.
f. Knox's Mill.
g. Bridgewater Mills.
h. Indian Punch Bowl.
i. Rappahannock Electric Light & Power Co.
j. 1907 Dam and Gates.
k. Thornton's Mill.
(4) Individual historic sites. This component shall consist of those parcels of land containing the following historic sites and being more particularly described on that portion of the official zoning map of the city consisting of a map entitled "City Fredericksburg, Virginia, Official Zoning Overlay Map, Old and Historic Fredericksburg District Boundary":
a. The Stearns House: All that certain parcel of land located at 720 William Street, containing approximately 21,760 square feet, more or less, with all improvements thereon, and shown as Parcel 720 on City Tax Map No. 136.
b. 1201 Washington Avenue (Kenmore): A distinctive Georgian mansion in an excellent state of preservation built by Fielding Lewis in the 1770s.
c. 1302 Washington Avenue: A Colonial Revival wood frame dwelling constructed in 1907. This home has a simple gable roof and a variety of dentil work.
d. 1304 Washington Avenue: A Colonial Revival brick home designed by the architect Philip N. Stern and constructed in 1910 by Frank Stearns.
e. 1311 Washington Avenue: A Craftsman style house constructed in 1911. The architect was J. Philip Stern.
f. 1500 Washington Avenue: A stone dwelling constructed in 1896 to serve as a caretaker's cottage for the recently completed Mary Washington Monument.
g. Federal Hill: All that certain parcel of land located at 504 Hanover Street and containing approximately 2.15 acres, more or less, with all improvements thereon, and shown as Parcel 504 on City Tax Map No. 97.
h. 620 Lewis Street: A two-story, stucco exterior dwelling constructed in 1928.
i. 3315 Fall Hill Avenue: A distinctive Georgian mansion known as "Fall Hill," dating to circa 1779 and being in an excellent state of preservation, including the tract of land surrounding the mansion, consisting of 22 acres, more or less.
Sec. 78-753. Architectural review board established.
There shall be an architectural review board for the city. Such body shall have the duty to implement the provisions of this division, in accordance with the provisions of chapter 10, article II, division 2.
(Code 1991, § 14-589)
State law references: Historical preservation, Code of Virginia, § 15.2-2306.
Sec. 78-754. Certificate of appropriateness required.
(a) Construction or alteration of building or structure. No building or structure subject to view from a public street or right-of-way or from any city-owned property shall be erected, reconstructed, altered or restored within the HFD unless the building or structure has been approved by the architectural review board or, on appeal, by the city council, as being architecturally compatible with the historic landmarks, buildings, and structures in the HFD.
(Code 1991, § 14-590)
(b) Demolition or moving of building or structure. Except as otherwise provided in this division, no building, structure, or landmark within the HFD that is subject to view from a public street or right-of-way or from any city-owned property shall be razed, demolished, or moved until such razing, demolition, or moving has been approved by the architectural review board, or, on appeal, by the city council after consultation with such board.
(c) Signs. No sign, as defined in section 78-75, that is subject to view from a public street or right-of-way or from any city-owned property shall be erected, reconstructed, altered, or restored within the HFD unless the sign has been approved by the architectural review board or by the zoning administrator pursuant to section 78-764, or, on appeal, by the city council, as being architecturally compatible with the historic landmarks, buildings, and structures in the HFD.
Sec. 78-755. Structures on property owned or controlled by governmental entity or public utility company.
(a) To the maximum extent allowed by law, section 78-754 shall apply to any building, structure, landmark, or sign (as defined in sections 78-75) located in the HFD on property owned or controlled by the city, any public utility company, or other governmental entity; provided, however, that section 78-754 shall not apply to any sign erected by the city within the HFD.
(Code 1991, § 14-590.1)
(b) For purposes of this section, the term "public utility company" shall mean any person engaged in the business of providing electric, telecommunications, gas, cable television, or similar utility service to the public.
(c) For the proposed construction, alteration, renovation, or razing of any city building or structure, the city manager or other appropriate city official shall file an application for a certificate of appropriateness with the office of planning and community development and shall adhere to all other requirements of this division. For buildings and structures owned by other governmental entities or public utility companies, the city manager shall request that such owners submit an application for a certificateof appropriateness and adhere to all requirements of this division.
Sec. 78-756. Application for certificate of appropriateness.
(a) All applications for certificates of appropriateness shall be made to the office of planning and community development.
(Code 1991, § 14-591)
(b) The architectural review board or the community development coordinator may request any or all of the following information in order for the application to be deemed complete:
(1) Statement of proposed use and user.
(2) Statement of estimated construction time.
(3) Photographs, maps, and drawings relating the proposed use to surrounding properties.
(4) Site design drawings showing building configuration, topography, and relationship to site improvements, color, and building materials.
(5) Architectural drawings to scale showing the plan and elevation of the erection, reconstruction, exterior addition or alteration, restoration, razing, relocation, or demolition of existing buildings.
(6) Landscaping plan.
(7) Plan of exterior signs, lighting, and graphics, including a description of materials.
Sec. 78-757. Notice of hearing on certificate of appropriateness.
The community development coordinator shall advertise that each application for a certificate of appropriateness will be the subject of a public hearing to be held at either a regular or special meeting of the architectural review board. Such hearing notice shall be published once a week for two successive weeks in a newspaper published or having general circulation in the city. Such notice shall specify the time and place of the hearing at which persons affected may appear and present their views, not lessthan six days and not more than 21 days after the second advertisement shall appear in such newspaper. The term "two successive weeks," as used in this section, shall mean that such notice shall be published at least twice in such newspaper with not less than six days elapsing between the first and second publication.
(Code 1991, § 14-592)
Sec. 78-758. General standards for issuance of certificate of appropriateness.
The architectural review board shall promptly review each application for a permit under this division. In reviewing applications, the architectural review board shall consider only those design features subject to view from the public right-of-way and shall not make any requirements except for the purpose of encouraging development that is architecturally compatible with the historic aspects of the HFD.
(Code 1991, § 14-593)
Sec. 78-759. Standards for approval of alteration of existing structure.
(a) The architectural review board shall base its decisions on the U.S. Secretary of the Interior's Standards for Rehabilitation, as may be amended from time to time, in determining the appropriateness of any application for approval pertaining to existing structures under this division, as follows:
(Code 1991, § 14-594)
(1) Every reasonable effort shall be made to provide a compatible use for a property by requiring minimal alteration of the building, structure, or site and its environment, or by using a property for its originally intended purposes.
(b) In conjunction with the U.S. Secretary of the Interior's Standards for Rehabilitation, as may be amended from time to time, the architectural review board, in reviewing applications for certificates of appropriateness involving additions or alterations to existing structures within the HFD, shall take into account the following specific review criteria to ensure that the application is consistent with the character and historic aspects of the HFD:
(2) The distinguishing original qualities or character of a building, structure, or site and its environment shall not be destroyed. The removal or alteration of any historical material or distinctive architectural features should be avoided when possible.
(3) All buildings, structures, and sites shall be recognized as products of their own time. Alterations that have no historical basis and which seek to create an earlier appearance shall be discouraged.
(4) Changes which may have taken place in the course of time are evidence of the history and development of a building, structure, or site and its environment. These changes may have acquired significance in their own right, and this significance shall be recognized and respected.
(5) Distinctive stylistic features or examples of skilled craftsmanship which characterize a building, structure, or site shall be treated with sensitivity.
(6) Deteriorated architectural features shall be repaired rather than replaced, wherever possible. If replacement is necessary, the new material should match the material being replaced in composition, design, color, texture, and other visual qualities. Replacement of missing architectural features should be based on historic, physical, or pictorial evidence rather than on conjectural designs or the availability of different architectural elements from other buildings or structures.
(7) The surface cleaning of structures shall be undertaken with the gentlest means possible. Sandblasting and other cleaning methods that will damage the historic building materials shall not be undertaken.
(8) Every reasonable effort shall be made to protect and preserve archeological resources affected by or adjacent to any project.
(9) Contemporary design for alterations and additions to existing properties shall not be discouraged when such alterations and additions do not destroy significant historical, architectural or cultural material, and such design is compatible with the size, scale, color, material, and character of the property, neighborhood or environment.
(10) Wherever possible, new additions or alterations to structures shall be done in such a manner that, if such additions or alterations were to be removed in the future, the essential form and integrity of the structure would be unimpaired.
(1) The mass and height of a building, and the nature of the roofline.
(2) The proportions between the height of a building, its bulk, and the nature of its roofline (i.e., is its appearance predominantly horizontal or vertical).
(3) The nature of the open spaces around buildings, including the extent of setbacks, the existence of any side yards and their size, and the continuity of such spaces along the street.
(4) The existence of trees and other landscaping, and the extent of paving.
(5) The nature of the openings in the facade (primarily doors and windows), and their location, size and proportions.
(6) The type of roof (flat, gabled, hip, gambrel, mansard, etc.).
(7) The nature of projections from the buildings, particularly porches.
(8) The nature of the architectural details and the predominant architectural style.
(9) The nature of the materials.
(11) The details of ornamentation.
Sec. 78-760. Standards for approval of new structures.
In determining the appropriateness of any application for a certificate of appropriateness pertaining to new structures, the architectural review board shall consider the application's relatedness to existing historic district structures and characteristics, including the following elements:
(1) Height (i.e., relationship to average height of existing adjacent structures).
(Code 1991, § 14-595)
(2) Proportion of buildings' front facades.
(3) Proportion of openings within the facade.
(4) Relationship of solids to voids in front facades.
(5) Spacing of buildings on street.
(6) Relationship of entrance and porch projections.
(7) Relationship of materials.
(8) Relationship of textures.
(9) Relationship of architectural details.
(10) Relationship of roof shapes.
(11) Walls of continuity.
(12) Relationship of landscaping.
(13) Ground cover.
(15) Directional expression of front elevation.
(16) Appropriateness of the new structure to its historic setting.
Sec. 78-761. Standards for approval of demolition, removal or relocation.
(a) In determining the appropriateness of any application for the demolition (including demolition which occurs through neglect), removal or relocation of a structure in the HFD, the architectural review board shall consider the following review criteria:
(Code 1991, § 14-596)
(1) The architectural significance of the structure.
(b) In addition to the right of appeal set forth in section 78-767, the owner of a historic landmark, building, or structure, the razing of which is subject to the provisions of this division, shall, as a matter of right, be entitled to raze or demolish such landmark, building, or structure, provided that:
(2) The historical significance of the structure.
(3) The significance of the structure to the streetscape.
(4) The significance of the structure in furthering the comprehensive plan's goals for historic preservation and HFD development.
(5) The significance of the structure with regard to tourism.
(6) Effect on surrounding properties.
(7) Inordinate hardship.
To establish inordinate hardship under this section the applicant must submit evidence that rehabilitation of the structure is impractical, that the structure is inappropriate for the proposed use desired by the owner, and that the applicant cannot make reasonable economic use of the property. Such evidence may include proof of consideration of plans for adaptive reuse, attempts to sell, rent or lease the property, and information regarding annual income and expenses. Any hardship created by action of the applicant shall not be considered in reviewing any application.
(1) The owner has complied with the provisions of this article;
(2) The owner has, for the period of time set forth in the time schedule contained in this section and at a price reasonably related to its fair market value, made a bona fide offer to sell such landmark, building, or structure and the land pertaining thereto to the city or to any entity which gives reasonable assurance that it is willing to preserve and restore the landmark, building, or structure and the land pertaining thereto; and
(3) No bona fide contract, binding upon all parties thereto, shall have been executed for the sale of any such landmark, building, or structure and the land pertaining thereto, prior to the expiration of the applicable time period set forth in the time schedule contained in this section. Any appeal which may be taken to court from the decision of the city council, whether instituted by the owner or by any other proper party, notwithstanding the provisions heretofore stated relating to a stay of the decision appealed from, shall not affect the right of the owner to make the bona fide offer to sell referred to in this subsection. No offer to sell shall be made more than one year after a final decision by the city council, but thereafter the owner may renew his request to the city council to approve the razing or demolition of the historic landmark, building, or structure. The time schedule for offers to sell shall be as follows:
a. Three months when the offering price is less than $25,000.00;
b. Four months when the offering price is $25,000.00 or more but less than $40,000.00;
c. Five months when the offering price is $40,000.00 or more but less than $55,000.00;
d. Six months when the offering price is $55,000.00 or more but less than $75,000.00;
e. Seven months when the offering price is $75,000.00 or more but less than $90,000.00; and
f. Twelve months when the offering price is $90,000.00 or more.
Sec. 78-762. Standards for approval of signs.
The architectural review board shall consider the following in determining the appropriateness of any application for a sign proposed within the HFD:
(Code 1991, § 14-597)
a. The sign shall be integrated architecturally with the building.
b. Placement should not obscure significant architectural features or details of the building.
c. A sign should be placed only at a location within the HFD at which the announced business or activity takes place.
a. The sign should be legible.
b. The style and lettering of the sign should be appropriate to the structure, the business and the streetscape.
c. The lettering size should be in proportion both to the sign and the building.
a. The colors of the sign should relate to those of the building.
(4) General standards.
b. The sign should not have so many colors that they detract from the strength of the visual image.
a. Paper signs attached to windows announcing sales, etc., are discouraged as incompatible with the character of the HFD.
b. All signs shall meet the requirements of division 3 of this article.
State law references: Outdoor advertising in sight of public highways, Code of Virginia, § 33.1-351 et seq.
Sec. 78-763. Publication of sign standards; temporary sign certificates.
The architectural review board shall adopt standards, including design examples, for signs deemed acceptable in the HFD and shall cause such standards to be published or made available to the public. The zoning administrator shall have the right to issue 90-day temporary certificates for any sign he deems to meet these standards. Applicants for such temporary certificates must file applications with the architectural review board for permanent approval within 60 days of the issuance of a temporary certificate.
(Code 1991, § 14-598)
Sec. 78-764. Approval of certain signs by zoning administrator.
Four types of signs in the HFD shall not require review or approval by the architectural review board, but may be approved through the sign permitting process by the zoning administrator, as set forth in division 3 of this article. Each sign shall be made by a professional sign maker or sign painter who is regularly engaged in the production of signs. Size, area, placement, and related dimensional aspects of such signs shall continue to be governed by division 3 of this article. The four types of signs are:
(1) Directory sign addition. A directory sign addition is added to an existing or established directory sign that provides a listing of occupants or tenants of a building. A directory sign addition may also include a change in the listing of an existing directory sign. Examples of approvable directory sign additions shall be maintained in the office of planning and community development.
(Code 1991, § 14-599)
(2) Professional wall sign. A professional wall sign shows the name and occupation of a building tenant or occupant. It shall be limited to lettering only, without pictorial or similar types of representations. The size of such signs shall be limited to a maximum size of 12 inches by 24 inches and one-half-inch minimum thickness, and the sign shall be constructed of durable, substantial, and generally accepted professional sign material. Examples of approved professional wall signs shall be maintained in the office of planning and community development.
(3) Temporary sign. A temporary sign is one that announces construction or real estate information. Such sign shall be allowed for a period of no more than 12 months and shall be limited to a maximum size of 24 inches by 48 inches. Examples of approved temporary signs shall be maintained in the office of planning and community development.
(4) Entablature or panel sign. An entablature or panel sign is one that is limited to one-color lettering painted onto an existing architectural panel or similar physical feature of a building. Examples of approved entablature or panel signs shall be maintained in the office of planning and community development.
Sec. 78-765. Record of proceedings of architectural review board.
A record of architectural review board actions and procedures shall be maintained and available to the general public. Any photograph, drawing, map, description, etc., submitted with an application, together with any certificate issued, shall be a part of the public record and maintained as such.
(Code 1991, § 14-600)
Sec. 78-766. Decisions by architectural review board; expiration of certificate of appropriateness.
After appropriate review, the architectural review board shall act to approve, approve with modification, or deny any request or application within 30 days of submission of a complete application. The community development coordinator shall notify the applicant of the architectural review board's decision within 14 days from the date of the hearing. A certificate of appropriateness issued under the provisions of this division shall expire one year after the date of such approval unless:
(1) A building or sign permit has been obtained and work begun within six months after issuance of the certificate; or
(Code 1991, § 14-601)
(2) An extension has been granted by the architectural review board, which shall not exceed six months.
Sec. 78-767. Appeals.
(a) Any person aggrieved by a decision of the architectural review board may appeal such decision to the city council, provided such appeal is filed in writing within 14 days from the date of notification of the architectural review board's decision. The city council shall consult with the architectural review board in relation to any appeal and may require documentation of any architectural review board's decision prior to hearing the appeal. The city council may affirm, reverse, or modify the architectural review board's decision and shall notify the community development coordinator of its actions.
(Code 1991, § 14-602)
(b) Any person aggrieved by a decision of the city council may appeal such decision to the circuit court of the city by filing a petition at law setting forth the alleged illegality of the action of the city council, provided such petition is filed within 30 days after the final decision is rendered by the city council. The filing of the petition shall stay the decision of the city council pending the outcome of the appeal to the circuit court, except that the filing of such petition shall not stay the decisionof the city council if such decision denies the right to raze or demolish a historic landmark, building, or structure. The court may affirm, reverse, modify the decision of the city council, in whole or in part, if it finds upon review that the decision of the city council is contrary to law or that its decision is arbitrary and constitutes an abuse of discretion.
Sec. 78-768. Permitted uses; special permit uses; use regulations.
(a) Any permitted or special permit use allowed in the underlying zoning district in which a property is located shall also be allowed within the HFD.
(Code 1991, § 14-603; Ord. No. 02-06, § II, 3-12-2002)
(b) The following uses shall be allowed by special permit within the HFD: (1)Historic dependency lodging. For purposes of this section, the term "historic dependency lodging" shall mean a single overnight lodging unit within a detached historic structure constructed prior to 1865 as a dependency of a residential structure (e.g., kitchen, laundry, servant quarters). No special use permit shall be granted pursuant to this subsection unless the property owner documents that the dependency was constructed before 1865 as a detached dependency, and provides at least one off-street parking space per lodging unit.(2) Historic dependency, limited office or retail use. For purposes of this section, the term "historic dependency, limited office or retail use" shall mean any office or retail use, as specifically limited by the city council, within a detached historic dependency structure that was constructed prior to 1865 as a dependency, was previously used for commercial office or retail purposes, and is situated on a lotlocated adjacent to the Commercial-Downtown Zoning District. No special use permit shall be granted pursuant to this paragraph unless the property owner documents that the dependency was constructed prior to 1865 as a detached dependency, and that said dependency has been used previously for commercial office or retail use.
(c) Except as otherwise provided in this division, all uses within the HFD shall adhere to the parking and loading requirements set forth in division 4 of this article.
(d) The architectural review board may review and make recommendations to the planning commission about any application for a special use permit for uses located in the HFD.
(e) Nothing in this division shall be construed as preventing the application of the city building code or other laws and ordinances applicable thereto.
Secs. 78-769--78-789. Reserved.
Last Update: 7 March 2006
Name: Gary Stanton, Dept of Historic Preservation