Design Review in Downtown Winchester
Historic District Overlay (HDO) Zoning
The City of Winchester has recently adopted Historic District Overlay (HDO) zoning for the Winchester Downtown National Register District in order to help manage change in the historic commercial area and retain Winchester's unique character. Article VI of the city code of ordinances provides more information.
If you own property within the district boundaries, you must apply for a Certificate of Appropriateness (COA) prior to any construction, alteration, reconstruction, repair, or demolition that will involve exterior changes to your property.
The COA application forms are available here. The Historic Preservation Commission will review all applications and evaluate each project based upon the Design Guidelines. We will also work to provide you with the information necessary to make certain that your project is a success.
Applications must be received on the day of the meeting prior to next month's meeting scheduled meeting dates to be heard (if full review is determined to be necessary). The HPC will decide on the COA request within sixty days of the date the COA is received.
Why have design guidelines and a review process?
Most buildings experience some degree of change over time. The design review process is a tool to help manage the direction and degree of change, while establishing a common understanding of preservation design principles and standards. Maintaining a high quality of life and retaining the character that exists within Winchester's downtown historic district are important goals identified by the City and its residents. Therefore, these design guidelines and the design review process through which they are administered are intended to promote preservation of the historic, cultural and architectural resources that reflect the history of Winchester. These resources are fragile and finite, and are vulnerable to inappropriate alteration and demolition. Recognizing this, and in the spirit of continued stewardship that has helped the downtown area retain most of its historic character, the City of Winchester has established these design guidelines.