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.​


 Annual Public Meeting

​The Virginia Beach Historic Preservation Commission seeks to engage the citizens of Virginia Beach in the City’s historic preservation program. The Commission recognizes that public voices are the best advocates for preserving the community’s historical identity.

Since 2009, the Historic Preservation Commission has hosted an annual Public Meeting to gather public input on preservation concerns and needs that may range from individual properties to city-wide impacts. These meetings provide an opportunity for the public to learn more about the Commission’s initiatives and to receive up-to-date information on the progress being made in strategic planning areas. Most importantly, these meetings also give citizens a voice in determining the direction for the local historic preservation program.

The 2019 Public Meeting will be held on Wednesday, April 10 from 6:30 to 8:00 p.m. in a second floor meeting room at the Virginia Beach Convention Center located at 1000 19th Street. The Convention center is a fully accessible facility. All citizens interested in preserving Virginia Beach’s historic resources and its historical identity are invited to attend. Learn more about the meeting details from the press release and meeting program.

The featured presentation this year will be an overview by Laura Purvis, Cultural Resource Analysts, of the architectural survey update for the northern half of Virginia Beach that was completed in 2018. Local historian Christopher Pieczynski will be presenting the results of his research on the Skirmish at James’ plantation in 1781. For additional information about the 2019 Public Meeting, contact Mark Reed, Historic Preservation Planner, 757-385-8573. The Commission looks forward to seeing you on April 10.

 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 several state historical highway markers, curriculum development in the local public school system and important new research about the diverse history of our community. In 2016 the Commission approved six grants totaling $10,000; four grants in 2017 totaling $8,460; and, 9 grants in 2018 totaling $13,000.

Read more information on many of the completed research projects.  Read about the 2018 grant awards click here

Acceptance of applications for the 2019 grant cycle will be announced in 2019. The Historic Preservation Commission encourages the pursuit of research projects that increase our knowledge of Virginia Beach and that help to raise awareness about the rich and diverse history and historic resources.

Please contact Mark Reed, Historic Preservation Planner, for additional information about the 2019 Research Grant Program – mreed@vbgov.com; 757-385-8573.



​Hearing Date​Agenda​Minutes
​January 9, 2019
​February 6, 2019
​March 6, 2019
​April 10, 2019
​May 1, 2019
​June 5, 2019
​September 4, 2019
​October 2, 2019
​November 6, 2019
​December 4, 2019


​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


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:

  Commission Members/Committees

Member Term Committee

William Gambrell, Chair

1/1/2019 - 12/31/2021 Executive

James B. Wood, 1st Vice Chair

1/1/2019 - 12/31/2021 Princess Anne County Confederated Monument Statue Roundtable (co-chair)

Sharon Prescott, 2nd Vice Chair

1/1/2019 - 12/31/2021

Historic Preservation Month; Policies for City-owned Building and Sites; Public Meeting

Bobbie Gribble, Secretary

1/1/2017 - 12/31/2019


Bernice Pope, Immediate Past Chair

1/1/2017 - 12/31/2019

Sea Level Rise

Michel C. Ashe, FAIA

1/1/2018 - 12/31/2020

Dr. Glenn Carwell

1/1/2017 - 12/31/2019 Princess Anne Courthouse

Jennifer Brown Estes

2/21/2017 - 12/31/2020 Threatened Building and Sites
​Sharon Felton​1/1/2018 - 12/31/2020​Historic Districts; Princess Anne County Confederate Monument Statue Roundtable (co-chair)

Harriet Frenzel

1/1/2017- 12/31/2019

James M. Jordan IV

1/1/2019 -12/31/2021


Chief Lee Lockamy 1/1/2018 - 12/31/2020

Katherine Paulson

1/1/2019 -12/31/2021 Recognition of Historic Building

C. Mac Rawls

1/1/2018 - 12/31/2020 Cape Henry Historic Site

Victoria McQuay (Student)

7/03/2018 - 6/30/2019

Student Leaders (co-chair)

Brianna Perez (Student)

7/03/2017 - 6/30/2019

Student Leaders (co-chair)