Historic Preservation Commission

Meeting Notifications

The Virginia Beach Historic Preservation Commission holds a monthly general meeting on the first Wednesday of the month September through June. The meetings are at 5:00 p.m. and are held at the Department of Planning and Community Development Conference Room located at 2875 Sabre Street, Suite 500.

The public is welcome to attend.  To sign up to speak on any agenda item please contact Mark Reed, Historic Preservation Planner, at mreed@vbgov.com or 757-385-8573 at least 30 minutes prior to the meeting time.

 Historic Preservation Commission


The Virginia Beach Historic Preservation Commission was established by City Council in 2008 as an advisory body on issues related to the preservation of historic buildings, structures and sites located in the City of Virginia Beach.  Members of the Council-appointed Commission work to preserve, protect and maintain the historic identity of Virginia Beach and the former Princess Anne County.  They pursue this through a program of advocacy, public awareness and increased public involvement. ​


​​​The Historic Preservation Commission is made up of between 9 and 15 citizens who have a passion for the preservation of Virginia Beach’s historic buildings and sites.  Many of the members bring with them expertise in the fields of architecture, archaeology and history.  Many of the members own historic buildings and their hands on experience with preservation is an invaluable tool for the Commission. The Commission also has two appointed student members from local high schools.

The Historic Preservation Commission is supported by the Department of Planning. The Commission meets on the first Wednesday of the month at 5:00 p.m. at the Virginia Beach Convention and Visitors Bureau, 2101 Parks​ Avenue, Suite 500. The Commission typically holds an annual public meeting to discuss the state of historic preservation in Virginia Beach and to collect ideas and concerns from the citizens.​


For businesses looking for assistance through the COVID-19 Pandemic please visit the City of Virginia Beach Economic Development page at www.yesvirginiabeach.com. Resources are available to assist in these uncertain times.  

 Seatack and L & J Gardens National Register Nominations

The City of Virginia Beach and the Historic Preservation Commission have initiated National Register of Historic Places (NRHP) nominations for two historically African American communities. These projects are underway for Seatack and L & J Gardens to recognize the important place they represent in our city’s, state’s, and nation’s history.

 

The survey and National Register of Historic Places nominations for the historically African American Communities of Seatack and L & J Gardens project is being supported in part by an Underrepresented Communities grant from the Historic Preservation Fund administered by the National Park Service, United States Department of the Interior. Virginia Beach received one of eighteen 2019 grants that are intended to work toward diversifying the NRHP nominations. The grant award is in the amount of $47,187. Virginia Beach is providing additional project funding. The project will include survey and inventories of historic resources in each neighborhood and separate nominations to the NRHP. See the National Park Service press release for the 2019  grants here. 

 

Seatack is one of the oldest historically African American communities in Virginia. It is located just west of the Virginia Beach oceanfront.  Although its origins may go back 200 years, the Seatack historic district will primarily consist of a residential community whose architectural resources date from the 1920s to the 1960s. It will also include several churches and the original (segregated) Seatack Elementary School building. Seatack was found to be eligible for listing in the NRHP by the Virginia State Review Board in December 2019 (see the Seatack PIF link below). Commonwealth Preservation Group has been contracted to conduct the survey and prepare the nomination. They are a cultural resource management firm headquartered in Norfolk, Virginia.

 

L & J Gardens is a post-war suburban neighborhood that was developed by Walter Riddick and his sister Lillian in the 1950s and 1960s specifically for upper-middle class African American professionals. Named for their parents, Lizzie and John Riddick, L & J Gardens provided a suburban enclave for African American families that were prevented from buying homes in many neighborhoods due to discriminatory practices. There are approximately 125 residential properties in the community, many with original owners or owner’s families still in residence. L & J Gardens was found to be eligible for listing in the NRHP by the Virginia State Review Board in December 2019 (see the L & J Gardens PIF link below).  Debra McClane, Architectural Historian, has been contracted to conduct the survey and prepare the nomination. Her project team includes architectural historian Kristin Kirchen and local African American historians Edna Hawkins Hendrix and Dr. Joanne H. Lucas.

 

 

Seatack PIF

 

L& J Gardens PIF

 Historic Preservation Strategic Plan

The City of Virginia Beach established its first strategic plan for preserving the city’s historic resources in 1994. That plan was developed on the heels of completion of architectural resource surveys for the northern half (1992) and southern half (1993) of the city. The Historic Resources Management Plan may be found in the Related Documents section of this web page. Although the plan served the community well, much has transpired and been accomplished in the past quarter century to make the document outdated.

 

As in 1994, the City of Virginia Beach has recently completed historic architectural resource survey updates for the northern half (2018) and the southern half (2020) of the city.  In addition, archaeological assessments of each of these areas of the city were completed for the first time in 2018 and 2020 for the northern and southern areas respectively.

 

Currently underway is a project to update and revise the Historic Preservation Strategic Plan for the City of Virginia Beach. The strategic plan will provide guidance for the Historic Preservation Commission, Department of Planning and Community Development, and the community in the management of its collective historic assets through identification and documentation, honorary recognition, education and public awareness programs and initiatives, disaster and recovery planning, and economic incentives.

 

Community input is critical to the success of the strategic planning process. The first public meeting on the plan was held virtually on February 23. An online survey was made public in April and was line until May 16. Over 1000 citizens responded to the online survey.

 

The public can now provide input on the first draft of the Strategic Plan during a virtual public meeting bring held on June 29 at 6:30 p.m. The draft Historic Preservation Strategic Plan is available for viewing and download under Related Documents on the right side of this page. To attend the virtual public meeting on June 29, please register at this link:

 https://vbgov.webex.com/vbgov/onstage/g.php?MTID=ec9c4d764044981d7900b05aa4e324dd1

 

The update of Virginia Beach’s historic preservation program strategic plan is being accomplished via a partnership between the City and the Virginia Department of Historic Resources through the state Cost Share grant program.  The plan will be developed to meet state and federal standards for community preservation planning.  Commonwealth Preservation Group is the cultural resource management firm that will be leading public discussion and compiling the strategic plan document. 

 National Register of Historic Places

National Register of Historic Places

 

The National Park Service (NPS) manages the National Register of Historic Places (NRHP), which is the official list of the nation’s historic places worthy of preservation. Authorized by the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966, the NRHP is part of a national program to coordinate and support public and private efforts to identify, evaluate, and protect America's historic and archeological resources. Listing in the NRHP is honorary and does not provide restrictions or protections to individual properties or historic districts.

 

The Virginia Beach Historic Preservation Commission sponsors nominations for historic districts for listing in the NRHP.  Such nominations recognize the diversity of historic areas of the city and raise awareness about the historic character of Virginia Beach. They also provide a record of the resources in the districts as a comprehensive survey process is undertaken with the nomination. Property owners in these districts may potentially qualify for state and federal tax credits for rehabilitation projects. NRHP historic district nominations that the Commission has successfully sponsored are the Oceana neighborhood; Courthouse Village and Municipal Center; and Cavalier Shores (see links to the nomination documents below).  Currently underway are NRHP nomination projects for the L & J Gardens neighborhood and for the Seatack community.

 

The Commission also seeks opportunities to assist individual properties interested in NRHP listing. One way that they achieve that is through development of Multiple Property Documentation (MPD) for property types that share a common theme. Unlike a historic district, properties do not need to be adjacent to or in immediate proximity with each other to qualify under an MPD. The Virginia Board of Historic Resources and State Review Board recently approved the Virginia Beach Oceanfront Resort Motels and Hotels (1955-1970) MPD, as well as the accompanying nomination for the Jefferson Manor Motel Apartments.  The MPD was then submitted to and approved by NPS and the Jefferson Manor Motel Apartments was listed in the NRHP on May 12, 2021. Links to the Motels/Hotels MPD and the Jefferson Manor nomination appear below.

 

Also currently in process is a Preliminary Information Form (PIF) for the Woodhurst neighborhood, which will be reviewed by the State Review Board at their September 2021 meeting.  A PIF is the first step in the nomination process.  It is prepared and submitted to determine the eligibility of an individual property or district for listing in the NRHP.  If determined eligible, a nomination can then be prepared and submitted.

 

A list of all of the individual properties and historic districts in Virginia Beach that are listed in the Virginia Landmarks Register and the National Register of Historic Places may be found on the Virginia Department of Historic Resources web site. https://www.dhr.virginia.gov/historic-registers/virginia-beach-ind-city/


WoodhurstNeighborhood PIF

Oceana Neighborhood Historic DistrictNomination

Virginia Beach Courthouse Village andMunicipal Center Historic District Nomination

Cavalier Shores Historic District Nomination

Virginia Beach Oceanfront Resort Motels andHotels (1955-1970) MPD

Jefferson Manor Motel Apartments Nomination

  Commission Members/Committees

​Member​Term​Commission
​James B. Wood, Chair​1/1/2019 - 12/31/2021​Executive; Princess Anne County Confederate Statue Roundtable (co-chair)
​Sharon Prescott, 1st Vice Chair​1/1/2019 - 12/31/2021​Historic Preservation Month; Policies for Cityowned Buildings and Sites;
​C. Mac Rawls, 2nd Vice Chair​1/1/2021 - 12/31/2023​Cape Henry Historic Site; Public Meeting; Threatened Buildings and Sites
​Bobbie Gribble, Secretary​1/1/2020 - 12/31/2022​Sea Level Rise
​William Gambrell, Immediate Past Chair​1/1/2019 - 12/31/2021​Comprehensive Plan
​Sharon Felton​1/1/2021 - 12/31/2023​Historic Districts; Princess Anne County Confederate Statue Roundtable (co-chair); Underrepresented Communities
​Harriet Frenzel​1/1/2020 - 12/31/2022
​Albert Henley​3/16/2021 – 12/31/2023
​Ian Lichacz​1/1/2020 – 12/31/2022
​Becky Livas​1/1/2021 – 12/31/2023
​Chief Lee Lockamy​1/1/2021 – 12/31/2023
​Christi Lyons​1/1/2020 – 12/31/2022
​Richard Klobuchar​2/18/2020 – 12/31/2023
​Timothy Oksman ​7/07/2020 – 12/31/2021
​Katherine Paulson​1/1/2019 – 12/31/2021​Recognition of Historic Buildings
​Finnley Brakke (Student)​8/18/2020 – 7/31/2021​Student Leaders (co-chair)
​Hannah Levi (Student)​7/07/2020 – 6/30/2021​Student Leaders (co-chair)

 

 

 Confederate Statue

 

Several local organizations raised funds to erect a Confederate monument/statue near the old Princess Anne County Courthouse in 1905. The monument stood there until July 25, 2020 when it was removed to storage at the request of the Virginia Beach City Council.

 

Recently, such statues have come under increased scrutiny in Virginia and other states as some citizens have protested the public display of objects that they feel represent the enslavement of and institutionalized discrimination against African American citizens.  In 2017 the Virginia Beach City Council requested the Historic Preservation Commission to look at the issue and provide recommendations.

 

The Commission convened a committee of Virginia Beach citizens, the Princess Anne County Confederate Statue Roundtable (PACCSR), to review public input and discuss the related issues. Recommendations developed by the PACCSR were approved by the Commission in November 2019 and presented to City Council on January 28, 2020.  The recommendations were to provide historical context for the statue and the Courthouse, as well as to design and develop a park near that location with elements that explore a broader history of Virginia Beach.

 

During the 2020 Virginia General Assembly session section § 15.2-1812 of the Code of Virginia was amended to allow localities to remove, relocate, contextualize or cover war memorials, such as Confederate statues. The amended law went into effect July 1, 2020. A new wave of protests about Confederate monuments surfaced in the wake of the death of George Floyd while in police custody in Minnesota in May 2020. The Virginia Beach City Council held a public hearing on July 23 and following the hearing voted 11 – 0 to remove the monument from its location on public property.  The City is currently accepting proposals from museums. historical societies, governments and military battlefields to potentially relocate the monument.


 

 Research Grant Program

The Virginia Beach Historic Preservation Commission established a Research Grant Program in 2016 to encourage scholarship about persons, places and events significant to the history of the City of Virginia Beach, Princess Anne County and the related earlier historic and prehistoric eras in this area of southeastern Virginia.  The grant program supports research on local history that provides a final report or other stated product, such as a historic marker or interpretive sign. 

​​​The Research Grant Program has successfully helped to fund 7 state historical highway markers, important research about the diverse history of our community, interpretive sign panels and oral history interviews. In 2016 the Commission approved 5 grants totaling $8,650; 4 grants in 2017 totaling $8,460; 9 grants in 2018 totaling $13,000, 1 grant in 2019 for $2,425, and 5 grants in 2020 totaling $9,400. Read more information on many of the completed research projects. 

 Agendas/Minutes

2021

​Hearing Date​Agenda​Minutes
​January 6, 2021
​February 3, 2021
​March 3, 2021

​April 7, 2021


​May 5, 2021


​June 2, 2021


​September 1, 2021

2020

​Hearing Date​Agenda​Minutes
​January 8, 2020
​February 12, 2020
​March 4, 2020
​August 5, 2020
​September 2, 2020
​October 7, 2020
​November 4, 2020
​December 2, 2020

2019

​Hearing Date​Agenda​Minutes
​January 9, 2019
​February 6, 2019
​March 6, 2019
​April 3, 2019
​May 1, 2019
​June 5, 2019 - CANCELLED
​September 4, 2019
​October 2, 2019
​November 6, 2019
​December 4, 2019

2018

​Hearing Date​Agenda​Minutes
​January 10, 2018
​February 7, 2018
​March 7, 2018
​April 4, 2018
​May 2, 2018
​June 6, 2018
​September 5, 2018
​October 3, 2018
​November 7, 2018
​December 5, 2018

2017

Hearing Date​Agenda​Minutes
​January 4, 2017
​​February 1, 2017
​March 1, 2017
​​April 5, 2017
​​May 3, 2017
​June 7, 2017
​September 6, 2017
​​October 4, 2017
​November 1, 2017
​December 6, 2017

 Virginia Beach Historical Register

The Virginia Beach Historical Register was established by the Virginia Beach City Council in 1999. The register recognizes buildings, structures and sites that are important to and/or illustrative of the historical development of the city and its predecessor jurisdictions. Nomination/application to the register is voluntary and must have the consent of the property owner. A property’s standing on the register is honorary and carries no restrictions or regulatory oversight.

Properties placed on the register are recognized by the issuance of a certificate that notes their status as a local historic landmark and their contribution to the character of Virginia Beach. Property owners also receive a bronze plaque to identify the building’s placement on the register.

Applications are accepted by the Department of Planning and Community Development on an ongoing basis. Once the application package has been determined to be complete it is forwarded to the Historic Preservation Commission’s Historical Register Committee for review and evaluation.  The Committee will schedule a site visit to the applicant property as part of their review process. A link to an Application Form  may be found at the bottom of this page.

Please contact Mark Reed, Historic Preservation Planner, for additional information about the Virginia Beach Historical Register – mreed@vbgov.com; 757-385-8573.

Virginia Beach Historical Register List

Virginia Beach Historical Register and Nomination/Application Form

 Certified Local Government

The City of Virginia Beach was designated as a Certified Local Government by the National Park Service on August 25, 2016. The Certified Local Government (CLG) program establishes a partnership between the local government, the federal historic preservation program and the State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO), which in Virginia is the Department of Historic Resources (DHR). Designation as a CLG gives Virginia Beach a way to participate more formally in the state and national historic preservation programs.

The Goals of the Virginia CLG Program are:

  • Promote viable communities through preservation
  • Recognize and reward communities with sound local preservation programs
  • Establish credentials of quality for local preservation programs

Virginia Beach meets the requirements for its CLG designation by:

  • Having a historic district ordinance that – defines district boundaries, establishes a review board, identifies actions for review, and provides for the protection of local historic resources
  • Having a review board that administers the ordinance and a preservation commission that works as an advocate for preservation in the City
  • Continuing to survey local heritage resources
  • Promoting public participation in the local heritage stewardship program
  • Reporting annually on the performance of its CLG responsibilities

Surveys of Virginia Beach's Heritage Resources: