The Town of Herndon’s historic district officially has a new name and updated guidelines.
The Herndon Town Council unanimously voted to change the name of the Historic Preservation District, which is generally located in and around downtown and the northern areas of Herndon, to the Historic District Overlay.
In a release from earlier this month, the town stated that that the new name “allows for clearer identification of the district and conforms to the typical term used for similar districts throughout Virginia anD the nation.”
The town worked with Work Program Architects and Commonwealth Preservation Group to adopt the new guidelines, which generally offer a “clearer basis of evaluation for staff at the Historic District Review Board,” according to a statement released by the town of Dec. 1.
“The new guidelines are easier to navigate, provide material flexibility and include a resource guide for property owners.”
Applicants now have more flexibility to design and building additions to existing buildings. An engineered site plan is not required for some additions. Applications for some exterior modifications will go to staff for approval instead of work sessions or public hearings.
The guidelines also include a new process guide for property owners as well as different options to improve or modify district properties.
The project consultants interviewed 143 total participants prior to going through with the changes, including 110 homeowners and residents and 15 commercial property and business owners.
Photo via Town of Herndon
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.
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
For months, the Town of Herndon and Comstock have remained silent on why the long-anticipated redevelopment of downtown Herndon has been delayed.
Both parties have declined to offer any comment on pending paperwork to close on the sale of the 4.7-acre parcel of town-owned land to Comstock. What’s known is that “further agreement” to protect “town financial interests” is needed to begin preparing construction at 770 Elden Street.
Comstock says it is making progress. The company plans to go through the bidding process this summer, according to a spokesperson for the Reston-based company. A spokesperson for the Town of Herndon said the town had nothing to add.
A promotional website and banner offer a tease for what’s to come on the site, which will include 273 apartments, 17,00 square feet of retail, and arts center, and a 787-space parking garage. The $85 million project is a joint venture between the town and Comstock.
The site itself is ready for construction to begin.
In May, the former car dealership buildings on the site were demolished to prepare for development. Earlier this year, contractors also removed asbestos and other environmental for through a state grant awarded to the Town of Herndon.
Now, the Town and Comstock must work out pending legal issues. Comstock will then apply for building permits and complete its “internal processes” for construction.
Officials originally estimated groundbreaking would begin in late 2019.
Photo via Comstock