Frey Hopes to Expand Historic District Boundaries

Frey Hopes to Expand Historic District Boundaries

Supervisor Michael R. Frey (R-Sully) and others want to expand the boundaries of the Centreville Historic District. And the second meeting of the citizens group working on the project will be Monday, Dec. 13, at 7 p.m. in the Sully District Governmental Center, 4900 Stonecroft Blvd., in Chantilly.

THIS SUMMER, Frey discussed the expansion possibility with many people who live in and around the Historic District. Then in August, the Board of Supervisors approved his motion to start the process to recommend changes to the boundaries.

"The Historic District is more than a specific property or structure — it's the whole community," explained Frey. "That whole area was the original Centreville, and all of it was impacted by the past. And as new development comes, it should respect the past and be developed in a way that's compatible with the preservation of history."

To expand the Centreville Historic Overlay District, a report must be prepared outlining its boundaries, plus the historic, architectural, archaeological or cultural significance of its buildings, structures and sites. A rezoning application would be submitted to amend the boundaries, and an amendment to Fairfax County's Comprehensive Plan would have to reflect the changes and evaluate the overall vision for the Historic District.

Last Tuesday, Nov. 30, about 40 residents, plus some property owners and developers, attended the first meeting held about the proposed expansion. They discussed the implications of being in a historic district and what additional burdens it places on property owners there.

"I believe it's a good thing," said Frey. "It separates you from everybody else. You get a certain degree of architectural control and style that sets you apart — and it's generally higher than for people who aren't in a historic district."

Centreville's Historic District is currently 17 acres, and Frey would like it to be nearly 50 acres. Doing so would entail amending the county zoning ordinance. "The Historic District is a Historic Overlay District," he said. "So we'd advertise a rezoning to add a Historic Overlay District to the areas not in it now."

BUT, HE STRESSED, having that designation still wouldn't change the underlying zoning (such as R-1, C-8, etc.) or dictate what can be done on the property. Said Frey: "It just adds the protection of the county's Architectural Review Board to review and approve the architecturals."

He said the Historic District consists of 35 separate parcels and does not include the MVC store or the strip shopping center next to it because they're already built on; nor does it include the shopping center containing the bowling alley.

Frey said a graduate student in history is researching specific properties to help determine their appropriateness for inclusion in the Historic District boundaries. Her report should be completed by the end of January or February.

"Then we'll evaluate that and decide ultimately what the Historic District should be and schedule hearings about it in the summer," said Frey. "And the working group will look at the research and see what properties should be in and what shouldn't."

The public is encouraged to attend Monday's meeting and participate in the working group. "We'll look at the existing land uses — what parcels are and aren't being used — and then at the current Comprehensive Plan recommendations for [these sites]," said Frey. "And we'll discuss whether they're appropriate or should be changed, and if some uses should be added or subtracted."

"I think there's a lot of interest," he said. "We had a good cross-section of enthusiastic people at last week's meeting, and I was very pleased with the turnout."