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January 27, 2022

Greens support changes to state historic preservation law to block demolition of nominated historic sites, and allow historians court access

Greens support changes in the the Virginia Historic Preservation law (section 15.2-2306 of the Code of Virginia)  (as written in Senate Bill No. 206 and House Bill No. 1210) to do two things:

                                    Stop the demolition of nominated historic sites, buildings, houses and landmarks until the local government with input from local residents and historians has completed its review and decision whether to designate a nominated site, and 

                                    Allow local residents and historians who nominate a historic site to have access to court review of locality final decisions to ensure that the state law is followed.

Please sign the Moveon.org petition to the Virginia General Assembly.
https://sign.moveon.org/petitions/support-proposed-legislation-for-virginia-historic-preservation?share=412d9df2-7d94-43fc-ba61-5bf4c2c286ef&source=s.fwd&utm_source=s.fwd

It is important that historic houses, sites, buildings, and landmarks and areas should be preserved throughout the Virginia, but our current historic preservation law is flawed and should be changed to help keep threatened historic sites as much as possible.  Bulldozers move into demolish nominated sites before the local historic review process is completed.  Local residents and historic advocates have no access to ask for court review and thus often the state historic law is ignored. 

In 2021, the historic Febrey-Lothrop-Rouse (FLR, a graceful 175-year old mansion that had served as Union army hospital, was demolished just a few weeks before the Arlington County Board public hearing and vote on local historic designation despite the pleas of over 1,400 residents and historians. The county board voted against designation and historians were kicked out of court as having no rights to ask for court review.

Local governments must have the time to consider and approve or disapprove historic designation of a site or building or landmark and during that time no demolition or destruction of the nominated site, building or landmark should be allowed.  Further, under current state law, petitioners and advocates for historic preservation have no right to seek court review of a locality decision to deny historic protection as to whether this decision violated the state law.  Petitioners for local historic protection must have the same access to the courts as only property owners do today.

This petition with a listing of its signers will be delivered to the patrons of the legislations in the Virginia General Assembly, Senator Chap Petersen (Fairfax) and Delegate Patrick Hope (Arlington).   Signers may also email their own Virginia delegate and senator directly if they so choose (find your Virginia state legislator and email here  https://whosmy.virginiageneralassembly.gov/)

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