The effort to restrict the demolition of buildings deemed to have historic significance will go to a Purcellville Town Council public hearing Tuesday night.
The town Planning Commission developed the proposed Historic Preservation Overlay Zone, which would cover 283 properties. The zone would include lots with buildings deemed to have historic value that are located outside the town’s existing Historic Corridor Overlay District. Those properties include buildings listed or eligible for listing on the national or state historic registers or deemed a local landmark as designated by the Town Council.
Since its initial proposal sparked controversy during a public hearing last July, the commission worked to ensure the new rules provide a balance between efforts to preserve the historic character of town and the rights of property owners. Among the changes were to exempt accessory buildings, such as sheds, from the demolition requirements; and to attempt to make less onerous the requirement that any building in the protection zone planned for demolition first be offered for sale to buyers who would preserve it. Specifically, if the town’s Board of Architectural Review denies a demolition permit for a principal structure within the overlay zone, the property owner may still raze the building if it first has been offered for sale for six months—less than the 12-month allowance permitted by state code.
While those changes addressed many of the concerns, during a second Planning Commission public hearing residents continued to question the merits of the program, which would cover homes they said have little historic significance.
The hearing is the only item on the Feb. 22 Town Council meeting agenda. The session starts at 7 p.m. at Town Hall.