Fredericksburg City Beat

This blog includes news about City Hall, city schools and other 22401 news.

Pamela Gould reports on City Hall. You can reach her at 540-735-1972 or Robyn Sidersky reports on city schools. You can reach her at 540-374-5413 or

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Keeping buildings standing

Tuesday’s story on the Historic Preservation Task Force meeting focused on measures that were discussed to prevent demolitions in the Historic District that are due to the long-term neglect of buildings.

But the group is also overhauling the ordinance that sets the criteria by which the Architectural Review Board judges whether to grant permission for a building to be torn down.

Here are some of the changes they’re considering making to that process:

  • Providing resources for the ARB to hire a qualified outside expert to give a second opinion on buildings when the owner says they’re so far gone that demolition is the only option. This could either be done by budgeting city money or by building the cost of the outside expert into the fee that an owner pays when he asks the ARB for permission to tear down a building in the Historic District.
  • Asking the ARB to consider whether partial demolition of a structure could abate the safety hazards while preserving the most important architectural features.
  • Specifically stating in the ordinance that if a building has fallen into disrepair because of its owner’s neglect, then the ARB should not consider that a hardship that entitles the owner to tear it down. The draft demolition ordinance also states that hardship should be determined based on “the relationship between the cost of repairing a building or structure and its reasonable value after repair,” not on the owner’s financial status.

The task force will meet again March 5 to finalize its revisions to the demolition ordinance. Then they pass all that work up to the City Council for its consideration.