Reston, VA

A public meeting was held last week to discuss the changes to the Town of Herndon’s Heritage Preservation Program.

Last Thursday (Oct. 29) the town’s consultants and staff invited the public to review new district guidelines that affects property owners and the Architectural Review Board.

The Heritage Preservation Program is designed to provide “a mechanism to ensure conservation of the town’s traditional neighborhoods and older commercial structures, providing a community identify apart from the suburban growth of the urbanizing region,” the website said.

Deputy Director of Community Development Bryce Perry noted that the town is considering a name change for the program.

“The change is not formally adopted, but is reflected in the guidelines,” Perry said.

Mel Price of Work Project Architects, and Paige Pollard and Katie Paulson of Commonwealth Preservation Group have all contributed to the project in some way.

Price said her firm was responsible for “the 3D modeling, graphics, and details of the buildings.”

The new guidelines are designed to be user-friendly and clearly delineate where to go for contributing and noncontributing additions,  as well as new construction, she said. The current guidelines are text-heavy and do not offer sufficient ‘how-to’ information.

“The goal is to meet the community reservation vision to ensure that we are maintaining and enhancing the character of the town,” she said.

Pollard of Commonwealth Preservation Group said the new guidelines will provide:

  • A statement of purpose
  • Clarification of the process
  • Clear distinction between contributing, noncontributing, additions and new construction
  • A resource guide for maintenance, materials and vendors
  • Flexibility in material options
  • A basis for Herndon District Review Board to make consistent decisions

Many citizens were present to take advantage of the question and answer portion of the public meeting.

A wide-range of questions were asked, including where to find a list of contributing properties.

“The best way to find that is using the interactive GIS map that we do have on our website,” Perry said.

One resident asked about guidance on “light fixtures, mailboxes, and specific color or guidance on things like tin shingles, etc.”

“There is no guidance on mailboxes and light fixtures,” Paulson explained. “For tin shingles, the guidance is to match existing and beyond that there are a few steps if you can’t, and that’s up to the board to work through on their end.”

Other updates regarding the district were presented at the end by Perry, including a zoning ordinance and the development of a new process guide for applicants.

A zoning ordinance, including changing the name of the district and name of the review board, is being scheduled to review by the town’s council later this month, according to Perry.

“This is really to enforce that legally what we have is a historic district,” Perry said. “And we want to make sure that we’re consistent with what these types of districts are called at the state level and with the other local jurisdictions.”

The extension of approved applications was the last update discussed. Applicants now have five years, instead of just one year, to start a project.

“Right now if an applicant receives board approval for a project, they would have twelve months to have that project started, unless they return to the board for an extension,” Perry explained. “Projects, especially large ones like additions and new construction are almost always delayed, so having the ability to keep these approvals active for five years, instead of just the one year period, really gives some flexibility to the project management and can save the applicant, staff and board time by avoiding that need for the repeated extension request.”

For more information about the Herndon Historic District Guidelines or other updates, visit the town’s website.

Photo by Comstock

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