Commission of Architectural Review
The Planning and Preservation Division in Room 510 is not open to walk-in visits at this time but staff is available to meet, following social distancing protocols. To schedule an appointment, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 804-646-6304. New applications for certificates of appropriateness can be submitted via email or via Microsoft OneDrive. For information on how to register and use Microsoft OneDrive, click here. An application (PDF) is available here.
Please refer to the city’s legislative calendar for information on Commission of Architectural Review meetings: https://richmondva.legistar.com/Calendar.aspx.
The Richmond Commission of Architectural Review (CAR) was established by City Council in 1957. The CAR is the city's official historic preservation body and is charged with reviewing all exterior changes to structures within the city's Old and Historic Districts and issuing Certificates of Appropriateness for those projects that it deems to be appropriate.
The CAR bases all its decisions generally on the Secretary of the Interior's Standards for Rehabilitation and New Construction; and specifically on the Richmond Old & Historic Districts Handbook and Design Review Guidelines, adopted in 1999.
When a neighborhood organization or other applicable entity submits a nomination request, the CAR oversees the process for designation of Old and Historic Districts and makes a final recommendation for designation to City Council.
The CAR also assists and advises City Council, all city boards and departments, and property owners in matters involving historic resources relating to appropriate land use, zoning, and other issues.
City Old and Historic Districts
The CAR is composed of nine members appointed by City Council. Six of the members are citizens-at-large while the remaining three are appointed from a list of nominees from The American Institute of Architects Richmond (Virginia) Chapter, the Historic Richmond Foundation, and the Richmond Association of Realtors. At least one member of the Commission must reside within a City Old and Historic District.
The current members are as follows.
|Sean Wheeler (Chair)||Citizen-at-large|
|Andrew Moore, FAIA (Vice Chair)||American Institute of Architects|
|Neville C. Johnson, Jr.||Richmond Association of Relators|
|Mitchell Danese||Citizen-at-large & Richmond Urban Design Committee Rep.|
|Lane Pearson||Historic Richmond Foundation|
To learn more about the members and their terms, click here or contact
Secretary to the Commission of Architectural Review
900 E. Broad St., Rm. 510
Richmond, VA 23219
The CAR meets on the fourth Tuesday of each month, except in December when it meets on the third Tuesday. Special meetings are held as necessary.
The table below provides a list of meeting dates for the CAR and submission deadline dates for each meeting. Please click here to view the Legistar calendar in order to view meeting agendas and minutes.
Click here if you want to view agendas or minutes from previous year’s meetings.
|2023 Meeting Dates||2023 Application Due Dates|
|January 24||December 26, 2022|
|February 28||January 27|
|March 28||March 3|
|April 25||March 31|
|May 23||April 28|
|June 27||May 26|
|July 25||June 30|
|August 22||July 28|
|September 26||August 25|
|October 24||September 29|
|November 28||October 27|
|December 19||December 1|
- Certificate of Appropriateness Application
- Submittal Checklist and Instructions for Building Alterations and Additions
- Submittal Checklist and Instructions for New Construction
- Submittal Checklist and Instructions for Demolitions
- Commission of Architectural Review Color Palette
For a Certificate of Appropriateness, the Commission of Architectural Review requires one signed copy of the application and plans to be submitted to email@example.com (with project address in the subject line) or sent to OneDrive.
In keeping with Sec. 30-930.6 of the Zoning Ordinance, the Secretary of the Commission of Architectural Review may approve certain types of projects. Examples of project types the Secretary can approve include: painting, replacement doors and porch decking, new handrails and porch rails, porch roof replacements, and exterior storm windows and doors. All staff approvals require an application and specifications about the project including: materials, colors, and photographs of the existing conditions and proposed plans (depending on the project types). The Secretary cannot approve projects that require public notice under the same section. Below are the Guidelines for administrative approvals:
- ADA Site and Building Enhancements
- Exterior Storm Windows and Doors
- Fences and Gates
- Fiber Cement Siding
- Hand and Porch Rails
- Light Fixtures
- Porch Decking
- Porch Roof Replacement
- Reconstruction of Missing Historic Elements
- Removal of Non-Contributing Materials Features
- Tax Credit Projects
Why are fees being charged now?
Planning and Preservation has been the only division within the Department of Planning and Development Review that has not charged for applications. The fees established by City Council will help to cover costs associated with reviewing and processing applications, including public notification requirements and staff time.
Are there fees for all projects?
No. Applications that can be administratively approved by staff and conceptual reviews will not be charged a fee. In general applications that require fees include new construction including additions and accessory buildings, changes to approved plans, extensions to Certificates of Appropriateness, and full demolitions.
Does my application require a fee?
The fee schedule for applications for Certificates of Appropriateness can be found below. For questions regarding fees for specific applications please contact Planning and Preservation staff.
How do I pay the fee?
Applicants will receive an invoice through the City's Online Permitting Portal (OPP). Invoices can be paid with a credit card. Visa, Master Card, or Discover are accepted. For more information please see the OPP User Guide, available on the City's website. Use this link to register for the OPP: https://energov.richmondgov.com/EnerGov_Prod/selfservice#/register.
When are fees due?
Once a complete application has been received, applicants who have pre-registered for the OPP will receive an email directing them to an invoice in the OPP. Invoices must be paid before an application can be scheduled for a Commission meeting. Incomplete applications will not be invoiced and will be returned to the applicant.
How can I prevent a delay in scheduling my application for Commission review?
Billing contacts must be registered for the OPP prior to receiving an invoice. We recommend registering for the OPP prior to submitting an application. Applicants that have not pre-registered for OPP will be contacted by staff. Incomplete applications cannot be invoiced or scheduled for review. Staff is happy to informally review applications for completeness prior to the submittal deadline. Invoices should be paid as soon as they are received. If payment is not received, the application cannot be placed on the agenda.
What is the fee for the extension of a COA? Is this an on-going fee?
No. This fee is generally for projects that have approval from the Commission but have not yet received permits and require additional review and coordination by staff.
|New construction of or an addition to a building other than for a single- or two-family dwelling or accessory building, including multi-family or mixed-use developments||$500|
|New construction of or an addition to a single- or two-family dwelling, or accessory building||$250|
|Amendments to previous certificates of appropriateness concerning non-structural alterations, changes to signage, and changes to plans||$150|
|Extension of a certificate of appropriateness||$25|