Del Ray historic preservation projects discussed

City staff launched a new Del Ray historic preservation initiative last week, saying they would focus on two projects in coming months: a survey of Art Deco and Streamline Modern buildings in Del Ray and the development of an architectural pattern book for Del Ray.

The buildings survey is expected to take about three months and will evaluate about 15 structures to determine their potential eligibility for listing on the Virginia Landmarks Register and the National Register of Historic Places.

Staff said that the city did not intend to establish an architectural review board in Del Ray. Thus, any new listings would not be subject new regulatory scrutiny from the city. However, any new listing would potentially become eligible for rehabilitation tax credits. A listing of more buildings on the state and national registers would also boost neighborhood pride.

The architectural pattern book would include examples of architectural styles and elements used in Del Ray and provide guidance for homeowners, builders, and design professionals considering changes to buildings in the neighborhood.

Al Cox of the city’s Department of Planning and Zoning said the pattern book was intended to help people identify and understand what makes Del Ray special. “Sometimes they just needs a little bit of guidance,” he said.

The pattern book would serve as a non-regulatory tool to help preserve and enhance the character and quality of the neighborhood.

Cox said that a request for proposal for a consultant to work on the pattern book would be issued this spring.

Cox said both projects are expected to be completed by the end of 2014.

An example pattern book from the city of Roanoke, VA was cited as an example and is available online.