Applying for a Certificate of Appropriateness


Applying for a Certificate of Appropriateness

Citizens accept a stewardship responsibility when owning property within one of Arlington’s 34 local historic districts. Property holders enjoy the advantage of not only increased economic value, but also protection from unwanted or threatening development. Yet, as stewards of such important buildings and neighborhoods, owners also share a responsibility for helping maintain the distinctive qualities that make these historic districts unique.

A Certificate of Appropriateness (CoA) is required for all proposed exterior alterations, new construction, and demolition within a locally-designated historic district, except for painting and routine maintenance. The CoA process involves two separate, though related, meetings that are open to the public. Both of these meetings occur monthly to allow the applications to be reviewed and decided upon in a timely manner.

The first meeting is the Design Review Committee (DRC). Comprised of the architects of the HALRB, these professionals offer free technical and design advice to the applicant and help finalize the CoA request. The DRC meets the first Wednesday of every month, beginning at 6:30 PM. At the second meeting, the entire HALRB then reviews and renders a decision to approve or deny the CoA application. The HALRB meets the third Wednesday of each month, starting at 7:30 PM. View the 2014 CoA application and meeting schedule

How and when can I submit a CoA application?

To appear before both the DRC and HALRB, CoA applications and supporting materials must be received by the County’s Historic Preservation Office by 5 PM on the third Wednesday of the month. Cases will be reviewed by both groups the following month. This is necessary so that the applications can be legally advertised, as required for public meetings of Arlington’s boards and commissions. The schedule also allows ample time for the applications and documentation to be copied, distributed, and reviewed by the DRC and HALRB members before their scheduled meetings. Examples of acceptable types of supporting documentation include photographs, site/construction plans, and material samples and drawings.

The CoA application and schedule are now available online You will need the free Adobe Acrobat Reader to browse and print this document. CoA applications can also be obtained by calling the Historic Preservation Program staff at 703.228.3812 or visiting 2100 Clarendon Boulevard, Suite 700.

Will I be allowed to make the changes outlined in my CoA request?

Over the past 10 years, more than 500 applications have been reviewed through the CoA process and only a handful of requests have been fully denied. Most of the applications are approved without delay, though some may require additional DRC meetings to resolve complex design issues.

One of the primary goals of the HALRB is to work closely with property owners to find suitable plans that meet their current needs yet are still sensitive to the historic character of the neighborhood. Architects on the HALRB strive to help property owners achieve an appropriate design solution. However, owners do have the right to appeal an HALRB denial to the County Board.


Department of Community Planning,
Housing & Development
Neighborhood Services Division
2100 Clarendon Boulevard, Suite 700
Arlington, VA 22201

Phone: 703-228-3812
Fax: 703-228-3834

Please contact Rebecca Ballo with the Neighborhood Services Division with any questions or comments regarding the historic preservation pages on this website.

Last Modified: April 14, 2014
2100 Clarendon Blvd. Arlington, VA 22201 Tel: 703-228-3000 TTY: 703-228-4611