Administrative Code

Virginia Administrative Code
3/1/2024

Chapter 30. Evaluation Criteria and Procedures for Designations by the Board of Historic Resources

Part I
Definitions; Applicability

17VAC5-30-10. Definitions.

The following words and terms, when used in this chapter, shall have the following meaning, unless the context clearly indicates otherwise:

"Board" means the Virginia Board of Historic Resources.

"Building" means a structure created to shelter any form of human activity, such as a house, barn, church, hotel, or similar structure. "Building" may also refer to a historically related complex such as a courthouse and jail or a house and barn.

"Chief elected local official" means the mayor of the city or town or the chairman of the board of supervisors of the county in which the property is located.

"Department" means the Department of Historic Resources.

"Designation" means an act of official recognition by the Board of Historic Resources designed to educate the public to the significance of the designated resource and to encourage local governments and property owners to take the designated property's historic, architectural, archaeological, and cultural significance into account in their planning, the local government comprehensive plan, and their decision making. Designation, itself, shall not regulate the action of local governments or property owners with regard to the designated property.

"Director" means the Director of the Department of Historic Resources.

"District" means a geographically definable area possessing a significant concentration, linkage, or continuity of sites, buildings, structures, or objects united by past events or aesthetically by plan or physical development. A district may also comprise individual elements separated geographically but linked by association or history. A district includes local tax parcels that have separate owners. For purposes of this chapter, a historic district does not mean a locally established historic zoning district pursuant to § 15.1-503.2 of the Code of Virginia.

"Nomination form" means the form prescribed by the board for use by any person in presenting a property to the board for designation by the board.

"Object" means a material thing of functional, aesthetic, cultural, historical, or scientific value that may be, by nature or design, movable yet related to a specific setting or environment. Examples of objects include boats, monuments, and fixed pieces of sculpture.

"Owner" or "owners" means those individuals, partnerships, corporations, or public agencies holding fee simple title to property. "Owner" or "owners" does not include individuals, partnerships, corporations, or public agencies holding easements or less than fee interests (including leaseholds) of any nature.

"Site" means the location of a significant event, a prehistoric or historic occupation or activity, or a building or structure, whether standing, ruined, or vanished, where the location itself maintains historical or archeological value regardless of the value of any existing structure.

"Structure" means a man-made work composed of interdependent and interrelated parts in a definite pattern of organization. In addition to buildings, structures include bridges, dams, canals, docks, walls, and other engineering works.

"Virginia Landmarks Register" means the official list of properties designated by the board pursuant to § 10.1-2204(1) of the Code of Virginia, or by the board's predecessor boards, as constituting the principal historical, architectural, and archaeological resources that are of local, statewide, or national significance.

Statutory Authority

§ 10.1-2205 of the Code of Virginia.

Historical Notes

Derived from VR390-01-03 § 1.1, eff. February 9, 1994.

17VAC5-30-20. Applicability.

This chapter pertains specifically to the designation of property by the board for inclusion in the Virginia Landmarks Register. Parallel evaluation criteria and administrative procedures applicable to nominations of properties to the National Park Service by the department director are set out in a separate chapter.

Statutory Authority

§ 10.1-2205 of the Code of Virginia.

Historical Notes

Derived from VR390-01-03 § 1.2, eff. February 9, 1994.

Part II
General Provisions

17VAC5-30-30. General provisions.

The board is solely responsible for designating eligible properties for inclusion in the Virginia Landmarks Register.

Any person or organization may submit a completed nomination form to the director for consideration by the board. The form shall include the descriptive and analytical information necessary for the board to determine whether the property meets the evaluation criteria for designation. Any person or organization may also request the board's consideration of any previously prepared nomination form on record with the department.

In determining whether to include a property in the Virginia Landmarks Register, the board shall evaluate the property according to the Virginia Landmarks Register Criteria for Evaluation, as set out in Part III of this chapter (17VAC5-30-40 et seq.).

Prior to the formal designation of property by the board, the director shall follow the procedures set out in 17VAC5-30-100 concerning notification to property owners and chief local elected officials. Prior to the formal designation by the board of a historic district, the director shall also follow the procedures set out in 17VAC5-30-110 for conducting a public hearing.

Statutory Authority

§ 10.1-2205 of the Code of Virginia.

Historical Notes

Derived from VR390-01-03 § 2.1, eff. February 9, 1994.

Part III
Virginia Landmarks Register Criteria for Evaluation

17VAC5-30-40. Historic significance.

A. In determining whether to designate a district, site, building, structure or object to the Virginia Landmarks Register, the board must determine whether the district, site, building, structure, or object has historic significance. A resource shall be deemed to have historic significance if it meets one or more of the following four criteria:

1. The resource is associated with events that have made a significant contribution to the broad patterns of our history; or

2. The resource is associated with the lives of persons significant in our past; or

3. The resource embodies the distinctive characteristics of a type, period, or method of construction or design, or represents the work of a master (for example, an individual of generally recognized greatness in a field such as architecture, engineering, art, or planning, or a craftsman whose work is distinctive in skill or style), or possesses high artistic values, or is a district that taken as a whole embodies one or more of the preceding characteristics, even though its components may lack individual distinction; or

4. The resource has yielded or is likely to yield, normally through archaeological investigation, information important in understanding the broad patterns or major events of prehistory or history.

B. A Virginia Landmarks Register resource can be of national historic significance, of statewide historic significance, or of local historic significance. The board shall use the following criteria in determining the level of significance appropriate to the resource:

1. A property of national significance offers an understanding of the history of the nation by illustrating the nationwide impact of events or persons associated with the property, its architectural type or style, or information potential.

2. A property of statewide historic significance represents an aspect of the history of Virginia as a whole.

3. A property of local historic significance represents an important aspect of the history of a county, city, town, cultural area, or region or any portions thereof.

Statutory Authority

§ 10.1-2205 of the Code of Virginia.

Historical Notes

Derived from VR390-01-03 § 3.1, eff. February 9, 1994.

17VAC5-30-50. Integrity.

In addition to determining a property's significance, the board shall also determine the property's integrity. A property has integrity if it retains the identity for which it is significant. In order to designate a property, the board must determine both that the property is significant and that it retains integrity. To determine whether a property retains integrity, the board shall consider the seven aspects set out here. Based on the reasons for a property's significance the board shall evaluate the property against those aspects that are the most critical measures of the property's integrity. The seven aspects are:

1. Location -- the place where the historic property was constructed or the place where the historic event occurred. In cases such as sites of historic events, the location itself, complemented by the setting, is what people can use to visualize or recall the event.

2. Design -- the combination of elements that create the form, plan, space, structure, and style of the property. Design results from the conscious decisions in the conception and planning of a property and may apply to areas as diverse as community planning, engineering, architecture, and landscape architecture. Principal aspects of design include organization of space, proportion, scale, technology, and ornament.

3. Setting -- the physical environment of the historic property, as distinct from the specific place where the property was built or the event occurred. The physical features that constitute setting may be natural or man-made, and may include topographic features, vegetation, simple man-made features such as paths or fences, and relationships of a building to other features or to open space.

4. Materials -- the physical elements that were combined or deposited during a particular period of time and in a particular pattern or configuration to form a historic property. The integrity of materials determines whether or not an authentic historic resource still exists.

5. Workmanship -- the physical evidence of the crafts of a particular culture or people during any given period in history or prehistory. Workmanship may be expressed in vernacular methods of construction and plain finishes or in highly sophisticated configurations and ornamental detailing. It may be based on common traditions or innovative period techniques. Examples of workmanship include tooling, carving, painting, graining, turning, or joinery.

6. Feeling -- the property's expression of the aesthetic or historic sense of a particular period of time. Although it is itself intangible, feeling depends upon the presence of physical characteristics to convey the historic qualities that evoke feeling. Because it is dependent upon the perception of each individual, integrity of feeling alone will never be sufficient to support designation for inclusion in the Virginia Landmarks Register.

7. Association -- the direct link between an important historic event or person and a historic property. If a property has integrity of association, then the property is the place where the event or activity occurred and is sufficiently intact that it can convey that relationship.

Statutory Authority

§ 10.1-2205 of the Code of Virginia.

Historical Notes

Derived from VR390-01-03 § 3.2, eff. February 9, 1994.

17VAC5-30-60. Boundaries for historic properties.

Boundaries for a historic district, property, building, structure, object, or site are selected to encompass, but not to exceed, the full extent of the significant resources or land area making up the resources. The area should be large enough to include all historic features of the property, but should not include "buffer zones" or acreage not directly contributing to the significance of the property. The following features are to be used to mark the boundaries, as they reflect the resources: (i) legally recorded boundary lines; or (ii) natural topographic features such as ridges, valleys, rivers, and forests; or (iii) man-made features such as stone walls, hedgerows, the curblines of highways, streets, and roads; or (iv) areas of new construction.

Statutory Authority

§ 10.1-2205 of the Code of Virginia.

Historical Notes

Derived from VR390-01-03 § 3.3, eff. February 9, 1994.

17VAC5-30-70. Additional criteria considerations.

Ordinarily cemeteries, birthplaces, or graves of historical figures, properties owned by religious institutions or used for religious purposes, structures that have been moved from their original locations, reconstructed historic buildings, properties primarily commemorative in nature, and properties that are less than 50 years old shall not be considered eligible for the Virginia Landmarks Register. However, such properties will qualify if they are integral parts of districts that do meet the criteria or if they fall within one or more of the following categories:

1. A religious property deriving primary significance from architectural or artistic distinction or historical importance: a religious property shall be judged solely on these secular terms to avoid any appearance of judgment by government about the merit of any religion or belief; or

2. A building or structure removed from its original location but which is significant primarily for architectural value, or which is the surviving structure most importantly associated with a historic person or event; or

3. A birthplace or grave of a historical figure of outstanding importance if there is no appropriate site or building directly associated with his productive life; or

4. A cemetery which derives its primary significance from graves of persons of transcendent importance, from age, from distinctive design features, or from association with historic events; or

5. A reconstructed building when accurately executed in a suitable environment and presented in a dignified manner as part of a restoration master plan, and when no other building or structure with the same association has survived; or

6. A property primarily commemorative in intent if design, age, tradition, or symbolic value has invested it with its own exceptional significance; or

7. A property less than 50 years old if it is of exceptional importance.

Statutory Authority

§ 10.1-2205 of the Code of Virginia.

Historical Notes

Derived from VR390-01-03 § 3.4, eff. February 9, 1994.

17VAC5-30-80. Revisions to properties listed in the Virginia Landmarks Register.

Four justifications exist for altering a boundary of a property previously listed in the Virginia Landmarks Register:

1. Professional error in the initial nomination;

2. Loss of historic integrity;

3. Recognition of additional significance;

4. Additional research documenting that a larger or smaller area should be listed.

The board shall approve no enlargement of a boundary unless the additional area possesses previously unrecognized significance in American history, architecture, archaeology, engineering or culture. The board shall approve no diminution of a boundary unless the properties being removed do not meet the Virginia Landmarks Register criteria for evaluation.

Statutory Authority

§ 10.1-2205 of the Code of Virginia.

Historical Notes

Derived from VR390-01-03 § 3.5, eff. February 9, 1994.

17VAC5-30-90. Removing properties from the Virginia Landmarks Register.

Grounds for removing properties from the Virginia Landmarks Register are as follows:

1. The property has ceased to meet the criteria for listing in the Virginia Landmarks Register because the qualities which caused it to be originally listed have been lost or destroyed, or such qualities were lost subsequent to nomination and prior to listing;

2. Additional information shows that the property does not meet the Virginia Landmarks Register criteria for evaluation;

3. Error in professional judgment as to whether the property meets the criteria for evaluation; or

4. Prejudicial procedural error in the designation process.

Statutory Authority

§ 10.1-2205 of the Code of Virginia.

Historical Notes

Derived from VR390-01-03 § 3.6, eff. February 9, 1994.

Part IV
Public Notice and Public Hearings

17VAC5-30-100. Written notice of proposed nominations.

In any county, city, or town where the board proposes to designate property for inclusion in the Virginia Landmarks Register, the department shall give written notice of the proposal to the governing body and to the owner, owners, or the owner's agent (i) of property proposed to be designated as a historic landmark building, structure, object, or site, or to be included in a historic district, and (ii) of all abutting property and property immediately across the street or road or across any railroad or waterway less than 300 feet wide. The list of such owners shall be obtained from either the official land recordation records or tax records, whichever is more appropriate, within 90 days prior to the notification of the proposal.

Statutory Authority

§ 10.1-2205 of the Code of Virginia.

Historical Notes

Derived from VR390-01-03 § 4.1, eff. February 9, 1994; amended, Virginia Register Volume 33, Issue 7, eff. December 29, 2016.

17VAC5-30-110. Public hearing for historic district; notice of hearing.

A. Prior to the designation by the board of a historic district, the department shall hold a public hearing at the seat of government of the county, city, or town in which the proposed historic district is located or within the proposed historic district. The public hearing shall be for the purpose of supplying additional information to the board. The time and place of such hearing shall be determined in consultation with a duly authorized representative of the local governing body and shall be scheduled at a time and place that will reasonably allow for the attendance of the affected property owners.

B. The department shall publish notice of the public hearing once a week for two successive weeks in a newspaper published or having general circulation in the county, city, or town. Such notice shall specify the time and place of the public hearing at which persons affected may appear and present their views, not less than six days or more than 21 days after the second publication of the notice in such newspaper.

C. In addition to publishing the notice, the department shall give written notice of the public hearing at least five days before such hearing to the owner, owners, or the owner's agent of (i) each parcel of real property to be included in the proposed historic district and (ii) all abutting property and property immediately across the street or road or across any railroad or waterway less than 300 feet wide pursuant to 17VAC5-30-100. Notice required to be given to owners by this section may be given concurrently with the notice required to be given to the owners by 17VAC5-30-100. A complete copy of the nomination report and a map of the historic district showing the boundaries shall be sent to the local jurisdiction for public inspection at the time of notice. The notice shall include a synopsis of why the district is significant.

D. The department shall make and maintain an appropriate record of all public hearings held pursuant to this section.

Statutory Authority

§ 10.1-2205 of the Code of Virginia.

Historical Notes

Derived from VR390-01-03 § 4.2, eff. February 9, 1994; amended, Virginia Register Volume 33, Issue 7, eff. December 29, 2016.

17VAC5-30-120. Mailings and affidavits; concurrent state and federal notice.

The department shall send the required notices by first class mail to the last known address of each person entitled to notice pursuant to 17VAC5-30-100. A representative of the department shall make an affidavit that the required mailings have been made. In the case where property is also proposed for inclusion in the National Register of Historic Places pursuant to nomination by the director, the department may provide concurrent notice of and hold a single public hearing on the proposed state designation and the proposed nomination to the National Register.

Statutory Authority

§ 10.1-2205 of the Code of Virginia.

Historical Notes

Derived from VR390-01-03 § 4.3, eff. February 9, 1994; amended, Virginia Register Volume 33, Issue 7, eff. December 29, 2016.

17VAC5-30-130. Public comment period.

The local governing body and property owners shall have at least 30 days from the date of the notice required by 17VAC5-30-100, or, in the case of a historic district, 30 days from the date of the public hearing required by 17VAC5-30-110 to provide comments and recommendations, if any, to the director. The director shall bring all comments received to the attention of the board.

Statutory Authority

§ 10.1-2205 of the Code of Virginia.

Historical Notes

Derived from VR390-01-03 § 4.4, eff. February 9, 1994.

Part V
Review and Action by the Director and the Board on Virginia Landmarks Register Proposals

17VAC5-30-140. Requests for designations.

In addition to directing the preparation of Virginia Landmarks Register nominations by the department, the director shall act according to this section to ensure on behalf of the board that the Virginia Landmarks Register nomination process is open to any person or organization.

The director shall respond in writing within 60 days to any person or organization submitting a completed Virginia Landmarks Register nomination form or requesting board consideration for any previously prepared nomination form on record with the department. The response shall indicate whether or not the information on the nomination form is complete, whether or not the nomination form adequately evaluates the property according to the criteria set out in Part III of this chapter (17VAC5-30-40 et seq.), and whether or not the property appears to meet the Virginia Landmarks Register criteria for evaluation set out in Part III. If the director determines that the nomination form is deficient or incomplete, the director shall provide the applicant with an explanation of the reasons for that determination, so that the applicant may provide the necessary additional documentation.

If the nomination form appears to be sufficient and complete, and if the property appears to meet the Virginia Landmarks Register criteria for evaluation, the director shall comply with the notification requirements in Part IV of this chapter (17VAC5-30-100 et seq.) and schedule the property for presentation to the board. The director may require the applicant to provide a complete, accurate, and up-to-date list and annotated tax parcel map indicating all property owners entitled to written notification pursuant to Part IV of this chapter. Within 60 days of receipt of a sufficient and complete nomination and of all information necessary to comply with Part IV of this chapter, the director shall notify the applicant of the proposed schedule for consideration of the nomination form by the board.

If the nomination form is sufficient and complete, but the director determines that the property does not appear to meet Virginia Landmarks Register criteria for evaluation, the director shall notify the applicant, the owner, and the board of his determination within 60 days of receipt of the nomination form. The director need not process the nomination further, unless directed to do so by the board.

Statutory Authority

§ 10.1-2205 of the Code of Virginia.

Historical Notes

Derived from VR390-01-03 § 5.1, eff. February 9, 1994.

17VAC5-30-150. Consideration by the board.

The director shall submit completed nomination forms and comments concerning the significance of a property and its eligibility for the Virginia Landmarks Register to the board. Any person or organization supporting or opposing the designation of a property by the board may petition the board in writing or orally either to accept or reject a proposed designation. The board shall review the nomination form and any comments received concerning the property's significance and eligibility for the Virginia Landmarks Register. The board shall determine whether or not the property meets the Virginia Landmarks Register criteria for evaluation set out in Part III of this chapter. Upon determining that the property meets the criteria, the board may proceed to designate the property, unless the owner or majority of owners object to the designation pursuant to 17VAC5-30-160 and § 10.1-2206.2 of the Code of Virginia.

Statutory Authority

§ 10.1-2205 of the Code of Virginia.

Historical Notes

Derived from VR390-01-03 § 5.2, eff. February 9, 1994.

17VAC5-30-160. Owner objections.

A. Upon receiving the notification required by 17VAC5-30-100, any owner or owners of property proposed for designation by the board shall have the opportunity to concur in or object to that designation.

B. Property owners who wish to object to designation shall submit a written, attested, and notarized statement of objection. The statement of objection shall (i) reference the subject property by address or parcel number, or both; (ii) certify that the objecting party is the sole or partial owner of the property, as appropriate; and (iii) certify that the objecting party objects to the designation. The statement of objection must be received by the director at least seven business days prior to the meeting of the board at which the property is considered for designation.

C. An objecting party whose name did not appear on the official land recordation records or tax records used by the director pursuant to 17VAC5-30-120 must submit with the written, attested, and notarized statement of objection an attested and notarized copy of the recorded deed evidencing transfer of ownership to such objecting party. Only upon such submission shall such objecting owner be counted by the director in determining whether a majority of the owners has objected. The statement of objection must be received by the director at least seven business days prior to the meeting of the board at which the property is considered for designation.

D. The board shall take no formal action to designate the property or district for inclusion in the Virginia Landmarks Register if (i) the owner of a property, (ii) the majority of owners of a single property with multiple owners, or (iii) a majority of the owners in a district has objected to the designation.

E. Where formal designation at a board meeting has been prevented by owner objection, the board may reconsider the property for designation at a subsequent board meeting upon presentation to the director, at least 30 days prior to the next scheduled meeting of the board, of written, attested, and notarized statements sufficient to indicate that the owner or majority of owners no longer objects to the designation. In the case of a proposed reconsideration, the notification procedures set out in Part IV (17VAC5-30-100 et seq.) of this chapter shall apply.

F. Each owner of property in a district has one vote regardless of how many properties or what part of one property that party owns and regardless of whether the property contributes to the significance of the district.

Statutory Authority

§ 10.1-2205 of the Code of Virginia.

Historical Notes

Derived from VR390-01-03 § 5.3, eff. February 9, 1994; amended, Virginia Register Volume 33, Issue 7, eff. December 29, 2016.

17VAC5-30-170. Boundary changes.

The director or the board may initiate the process for changing the boundaries of a previously listed Virginia Landmarks Register property upon concluding that one or more of the conditions set out in 17VAC5-30-70 has been met. In addition, any person or organization may petition in writing to have a boundary changed.

A boundary alteration shall be considered as a new property nomination. In the case of boundary enlargements the notification procedures set out in Part IV (17VAC5-30-100 et seq.) shall apply. However, only the additional area proposed for inclusion in the Virginia Landmarks Register shall be used to determine the property owners and the adjacent property owners to receive notification pursuant to 17VAC5-30-100 and 17VAC5-30-110. Only the owners of the property in the additional area shall be counted in determining whether a majority of owners object to listing in the Virginia Landmarks Register. In the case of a proposed diminution of a boundary, the director shall notify the property owners and the chief elected local official and give them at least 30 days to comment prior to formal action by the board.

Statutory Authority

§ 10.1-2205 of the Code of Virginia.

Historical Notes

Derived from VR390-01-03 § 5.4, eff. February 9, 1994.

17VAC5-30-180. Removal of property from the Virginia Landmarks Register.

The director or the board may initiate the process for removing property from the Virginia Landmarks Register upon concluding that one or more of the conditions set out in 17VAC5-30-90 have been met. Where the director or the board initiates the process, the director shall notify the property owner or owners and the chief elected local official and give them at least 30 days to comment prior to formal action by the board. In addition, any person or organization may petition in writing for removal of a property from the Virginia Landmarks Register by setting forth the reasons the property should be removed on the grounds established in 17VAC5-30-90.

Upon receipt of a petition for removal of property from the Virginia Landmarks Register, the director shall notify the petitioner within 45 days as to whether the petition demonstrates that one or more of the conditions set out in 17VAC5-30-90 have been met. Upon finding that one or more of those conditions have been met, the director shall notify the property owners and the chief elected local official and give them at least 30 days to comment prior to formal action by the board. Upon a finding by the director that none of those conditions have been met, the petitioner may appeal to the board as set out in 17VAC5-30-190.

Statutory Authority

§ 10.1-2205 of the Code of Virginia.

Historical Notes

Derived from VR390-01-03 § 5.5, eff. February 9, 1994.

Part VI
Appeals

17VAC5-30-190. Appeals.

Any person or local government may appeal to the board the failure or refusal of the director to present a property to the board, upon decision of the director not to present the property for any reason when a completed nomination form or a petition for removal of property from the Virginia Landmarks Register had been submitted to the director pursuant to 17VAC5-30-140 or 17VAC5-30-180. The failure of the director to respond to an applicant within the schedule set out in 17VAC5-30-140 for completed nominations or the schedule set out in 17VAC5-30-180 for removal petitions may be deemed a failure or refusal to present the property to the board. Upon the request of the board, the director shall complete the applicable notification and hearing requirements of this chapter and shall present the nomination form or the petition for removal to the board for its consideration.

Subject to the provisions of the Code of Virginia and of this chapter, the board has all final decision-making authority for adding properties to the Virginia Landmarks Register, for revising previous designations, and for removing properties from the Virginia Landmarks Register.

Statutory Authority

§ 10.1-2205 of the Code of Virginia.

Historical Notes

Derived from VR390-01-03 § 6.1, eff. February 9, 1994.

FORMS (17VAC5-30).

National Register of Historic Places Registration, OMB No. 10024-0018 (eff. 10/90).

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