Updated: Augusta County Courthouse application submitted to Staunton Historic Commission

Augusta County Courthouse

An elevated view from the corner shows the design concept for the 1901 Augusta County courthouse, the Echols Building, and expansion. Image courtesy Augusta County.

Update: Tuesday, 7:17 p.m. The City of Staunton spelled out the process as established in chapter 18.85 of the city’s zoning code that will be used in reviewing the application for a certificate of appropriateness involving the Augusta County Courthouse to the Staunton Historic Preservation Commission..

An electronic version of the application is available and an outline of the review process is included below.

This application will be on the Historic Preservation Commission’s agenda for Tuesday, Oct. 27.  Materials for the meeting will be available online no later than Friday, Oct. 23.  The meeting will include an opportunity for public comment.

Details including meeting location and the specifics regarding public comment will be posted online as soon as they are finalized.

Summary of review process

  • A Certificate of Appropriateness (COA), issued by the City of Staunton, after approval of either the Staunton Historic Preservation Commission (HPC) or, upon appeal, Staunton City Council, is required for any material change; including construction, reconstruction, exterior alteration, demolition, or relocation that affects the appearance of a historic property, building, structure or site located in one of Staunton’s historic districts.
  • A pre-application conference with city staff is encouraged prior to the submittal of a formal application to the Historic Preservation Commission (HPC).
  • An application for a COA must be accompanied by a written description, drawings, photographs, plans, and other documentation required by the HPC.
  • A complete application and payment of the application fee ($50) is due no later than the first Tuesday of the month in order to be considered at that month’s HPC meeting, which is held on the fourth Tuesday of the month.
  • The Historic Staunton Foundation (HSF) provides consulting services to the city in connection with applications for COA. The director of HSF, as part of the established process, analyzes and submits a written briefing and recommendation on all such applications to the HPC. The written briefing is provided to the applicant, staff, and the commissioners and is posted on the city’s website the Friday before the scheduled meeting.
  • The HPC conducts site visits of the proposed projects on the Monday before the HPC’s meeting.
  • The HPC holds a public meeting at which each proposed COA is presented. The HPC gives the property owner and/or applicant and any other interested party an opportunity to be heard at the meeting.
  • Unless action is deferred, the HPC approves or denies an application for a COA at the meeting when the item is heard.
  • Notice of approval or denial of a COA is sent by the U.S. mail to the applicant and any other persons who have requested such notice within 15 calendar days of the date of the decision.
  • An appeal from the decision of the HPC may be taken to the City Council by the owner of the property in question or by any person, firm, or corporation aggrieved by the decision. The appeal must be filed within 30 days of the Commission’s decision
  • An appeal may be filed with the Staunton Circuit Court by the property owner or any person, firm, or corporation aggrieved by the final decision of City Council.  The appeal must be filed within 30 days of the City Council decision.

 

First report: Tuesday, 3:14 p.m. Augusta County has submitted an application for a certificate of appropriateness involving the Augusta County Courthouse to the Staunton Historic Preservation Commission.

The application jumpstarts a renewed effort to rehab the 1901 courthouse and the nearby Echols Building, two signature buildings completed in Staunton by noted architect T.J. Collins.

“We have a team of professionals on board who bring a wealth of experience in historic preservation consulting, identification of historic materials, and technical preservation expertise. We are excited to present this proposal to the historic commission,” said Candy Hensley, assistant to the county administrator, who is serving as manager for the courthouse project.

The project, as currently laid out by the county, involves the courthouse’s north and east elevations being partially enclosed by a proposed addition, remaining visible within the building interior.

Court Place, known as Barrister’s Row, would be enclosed within the addition and serve as the main pedestrian access on the first floor, with main public entry and security screening off South Augusta Street.

The five-story expansion would serve as a backdrop to the historic courthouse, with architecture compatible with the character of the historic courthouse but differentiated so as not to mimic the design elements of the existing building.

The expansion’s exterior materials would include red brick and stone, complementary to that of the 1901 courthouse and the Echols Building. Exterior synthetic wood trim would reflect the neoclassical revival and beaux-arts style of the historic courthouse. A larger window opening at the south elevation of the expansion would afford sweeping views of the historic courthouse from all building levels.

The application was facilitated by Moseley Architects with subconsultants, Timmons Group and Sadler & Whitehead Architects, PLC.

The Staunton Historic Preservation Commission is scheduled to discuss the proposed certificate of appropriateness at a public meeting on Oct. 27.


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