Historic Preservation & Design Review

Charlottesville has a rich historic and cultural legacy. This heritage not only creates the City’s unique sense of place, but also represents one of its primary economic and cultural assets. The City’s historic preservation program strives to preserve these resources that represent the individuals, events, trends, and designs that formed city’s history and built environment.

Modern & Historic Influences

Not only do Charlottesville residents revere traditional architectural forms and materials that represent its rich history, they also respect contemporary designs and buildings from the recent past. This balanced combination of modern and historic influences demonstrates that the City both respects the past and values present creativity. The relationship of new buildings to old should be complementary and should add to the architectural vitality of the City through design expressions that represent our own time.

Design Control Districts and Designations

The City of Charlottesville has four design control designations, intended to promote the preservation of structures and areas with special historic and architectural significance, and to encourage the construction of new structures that are complementary to those resources: 

Within each, design review is required for exterior alterations, new construction, and some demolitions (for historic districts and properties only). Projects are reviewed and approvals granted by a Certificate of Appropriateness (CoA), indicating the project is consistent with the established design guidelines. 

Historic Places Archive

The City’s preservation staff has assembled a collection of materials related to Charlottesville’s history including: 

  • Articles About the Development of the Downtown Mall
  • Historic District Nominations
  • Historic Survey Forms
  • Information About City Cemeteries
  • Neighborhood Histories
  • Other Related Documents

Please visit this archive of Charlottesville’s Historic Places.