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Stafford expands ARB by two

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Two new faces will be joining the Architectural Review Board in Stafford County, nearly a year after a shakeup of the board’s oversight of George Washington’s boyhood home appeared to question the panel’s strength.

The board oversees the preservation and management of the county’s historic overlay districts, which are established to protect historic resources.

The change comes eight months after the Board of Supervisors decided to remove the historic overlay district for Ferry Farm, George Washington’s boyhood home. The historic overlay district had mandated that any changes to the National Historic Landmark be approved by the ARB.

During the debate then over whether the historic overlay district should be removed, Supervisor Bob Thomas said that the request to remove the ARB’s approval may reflect that the board may not be very healthy. He added at that time that the ARB had developed a perception over the past few years of being obstructionist, whether the panel deserved it or not.

The George Washington Foundation, the nonprofit organization that manages Ferry Farm, requested the changes over concerns that too many layers of approval could stall projects on the property.

The addition of the new members indicates the Board of Supervisors still sees value in the ARB.

The addition gives the board seven members, matching the size of the Architectural Review Board in Fredericksburg.

Supervisors recently appointed Charles Dodgen and Doris McAdams to serve as at-large members. According to the county’s website, at-large members must demonstrate knowledge, interest or competence in historic preservation.

Dodgen has worked as a licensed architect for 35 years. He currently works on facilities for the government. “My interest [in joining the ARB] is to give back to the community,” Dodgen said. “I think the Falmouth area is going to be interesting to see what develops. I think there is some new planning going on in that area.”

McAdams retired as a systems accountant for the Department of Defense. She now works as a Realtor. She is also on the board of directors of Stafford County’s historical society. “I’m very interested in protecting the historical sites and the architecture,” McAdams said.

Supervisors Chairman Jack Cavalier said that supervisors decided to add to the ARB after receiving a large number of applications for vacancies. After filling those slots, the two new positions were added.

“A lot of the board members had left that were previously on it, so in order to get as many people involved as we could, we decided to add more numbers to it,” Cavalier said.

“I think that the supervisors are attempting to develop a real diverse and strong Architectural Review Board. Frankly, I have looked at the history of the [architectural review] board, and I hope we are able to do a good job going forward,” Dodgen said, adding that there are now more members on the board who are engineers and architects.

In addition to the at-large members, the board consists of a planning commissioner, an architect or architectural historian and another member who resides in a historic resource overlay district.

Vanessa Remmers: 540/735-1975


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