Historic Preservation Commission

The Virginia Beach Historic Preservation Commission was established by City Council in 2008 as an advisory body on issues related to the preservation of historic buildings, structures and sites located in the City of Virginia Beach.  Members of the Council-appointed Commission work to preserve, protect and maintain the historic identity of Virginia Beach and the former Princess Anne County.  They pursue this through a program of advocacy, public awareness and increased public involvement. ​

​​​The Historic Preservation Commission is made up of between 9 and 15 citizens who have a passion for the preservation of Virginia Beach’s historic buildings and sites.  Many of the members bring with them expertise in the fields of architecture, archaeology and history.  Many of the members own historic buildings and their hands on experience with preservation is an invaluable tool for the Commission. The Commission also has two appointed student members from local high schools.

The Historic Preservation Commission is supported by the Department of Planning. The Commission meets on the first Wednesday of the month at 5:00 p.m. at the Virginia Beach Convention and Visitors Bureau, 2101 Parks​ Avenue, Suite 500. The Commission typically holds an annual public meeting to discuss the state of historic preservation in Virginia Beach and to collect ideas and concerns from the citizens.​


 Confederate Statue

A Confederate monument/statue erected in 1905 stands near the old Princess Anne County Courthouse in Virginia Beach. Several local organizations raised funds to have the statue made including the Princess Anne Confederate Veterans Camp 96 and the Princess Anne United Daughters of the Confederacy Chapter 435.

Recently, such statues have come under increased scrutiny in Virginia and other states as some citizens have protested the public display of objects that they feel represent the enslavement of and institutionalized discrimination against African American citizens.  The counter argument presented by other citizens is that the statues represent their heritage and the sacrifices made by their ancestors to fight a war to protect their families and homes.  After a peaceful protest was held on August 24, 2017 at the Princess Anne County statue, the Virginia Beach City Council requested that the Historic Preservation Commission look at the issue and provide recommendations.

The Commission held a public comment session at their September 6, 2017 general meeting.  At the meeting, 45 citizens provided their perspective of the statue. Several more provided letters and e-mails with their viewpoints. The Commission convened a committee of Virginia Beach citizens, the Princess Anne County Confederate Statue Roundtable (PACCSR), to review the public input and discuss the related issues. The PACCSR developed recommendations that they presented to the Commission in November 2019.  The Commission accepted the recommendations and presented them to City Council on January 28, 2020.

Currently, § 15.2-1812 of the Code of Virginia prohibits the removal of war memorials, such as the Confederate statue in Virginia Beach.  The Commission's recommendations are to provide historical context for the statue and the Courthouse, as well as to design and develop a park near that location with elements that explore a broader history of Virginia Beach.  The links provide additional information on the PACCSR and the recommendations to City Council. There is an additional link to view a brief video about the process and recommendations.


 Research Grant Program

The Virginia Beach Historic Preservation Commission established a Research Grant Program in 2016 to encourage scholarship about persons, places and events significant to the history of the City of Virginia Beach, Princess Anne County and the related earlier historic and prehistoric eras in this area of southeastern Virginia.  The grant program supports research on local history that provides a final report or other stated product, such as a historic marker or interpretive sign. 

The Research Grant Program has successfully helped to fund several state historical highway markers, curriculum development in the local public school system and important new research about the diverse history of our community. The Commission approved six grants in 2016 totaling $10,000; four grants in 2017 totaling $8,460; and, 9 grants in 2018 totaling $13,000.  One supplemental grant of $2,425 has been provided in 2019.

Read more information on many of the completed research projects

Applications for the 2019/20 grant cycle will be accepted July 8 through August 15, 2019.  Click here to download a grant application form. Completed applications may be submitted in person to the Historic Preservation Planner or in PDF format as an attachment and sent via e-mail to mreed@vbgov.com.  The Historic Preservation Commission encourages the pursuit of research projects that increase our knowledge of Virginia Beach and that help to raise awareness about the rich and diverse history and historic resources.

Please contact Mark Reed, Historic Preservation Planner, for additional information about the 2019/20 Research Grant Program – mreed@vbgov.com; 757-385-8573.



​Hearing Date​Agenda​Minutes
​January 9, 2019
​February 6, 2019
​March 6, 2019
​April 3, 2019
​May 1, 2019
​June 5, 2019 - CANCELLED
​September 4, 2019
​October 2, 2019
​November 6, 2019
​December 4, 2019


​Hearing Date​Agenda​Minutes
​January 10, 2018
​February 7, 2018
​March 7, 2018
​April 4, 2018
​May 2, 2018
​June 6, 2018
​September 5, 2018
​October 3, 2018
​November 7, 2018
​December 5, 2018


Hearing Date​Agenda​Minutes
​January 4, 2017
​​February 1, 2017
​March 1, 2017
​​April 5, 2017
​​May 3, 2017
​June 7, 2017
​September 6, 2017
​​October 4, 2017
​November 1, 2017
​December 6, 2017

 Virginia Beach Historical Register

The Virginia Beach Historical Register was established by the Virginia Beach City Council in 1999. The register recognizes buildings, structures and sites that are important to and/or illustrative of the historical development of the city and its predecessor jurisdictions. Nomination/application to the register is voluntary and must have the consent of the property owner. A property’s standing on the register is honorary and carries no restrictions or regulatory oversight.

Properties placed on the register are recognized by the issuance of a certificate that notes their status as a local historic landmark and their contribution to the character of Virginia Beach. Property owners also receive a bronze plaque to identify the building’s placement on the register.

Applications are accepted by the Department of Planning and Community Development on an ongoing basis. Once the application package has been determined to be complete it is forwarded to the Historic Preservation Commission’s Historical Register Committee for review and evaluation.  The Committee will schedule a site visit to the applicant property as part of their review process. A link to an Application Form  may be found at the bottom of this page.

Please contact Mark Reed, Historic Preservation Planner, for additional information about the Virginia Beach Historical Register – mreed@vbgov.com; 757-385-8573.

Virginia Beach Historical Register List

Virginia Beach Historical Register and Nomination/Application Form

 Certified Local Government

The City of Virginia Beach was designated as a Certified Local Government by the National Park Service on August 25, 2016. The Certified Local Government (CLG) program establishes a partnership between the local government, the federal historic preservation program and the State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO), which in Virginia is the Department of Historic Resources (DHR). Designation as a CLG gives Virginia Beach a way to participate more formally in the state and national historic preservation programs.

The Goals of the Virginia CLG Program are:

  • Promote viable communities through preservation
  • Recognize and reward communities with sound local preservation programs
  • Establish credentials of quality for local preservation programs

Virginia Beach meets the requirements for its CLG designation by:

  • Having a historic district ordinance that – defines district boundaries, establishes a review board, identifies actions for review, and provides for the protection of local historic resources
  • Having a review board that administers the ordinance and a preservation commission that works as an advocate for preservation in the City
  • Continuing to survey local heritage resources
  • Promoting public participation in the local heritage stewardship program
  • Reporting annually on the performance of its CLG responsibilities

Surveys of Virginia Beach's Heritage Resources:

  Commission Members/Committees




MemberTermCommittee Chair
William Gambrell, Chair1/1/2019 - 12/31/2021Executive
James B. Wood, 1st Vice Chair1/1/2019 - 12/31/2021Princess Anne County Confederate Statue Roundtable (co-chair)
Sharon Prescott, 2nd Vice Chair1/1/2019 - 12/31/2021Historic Preservation Month; Policies for City- owned Buildings and Sites; Public Meeting
Bobbie Gribble, Secretary1/1/2017 - 12/31/2019 
Bernice Pope, Immediate Past Chair1/1/2017 - 12/31/2019Sea Level Rise
Dr. Glenn Carwell1/1/2017 - 12/31/2019Princess Anne Courthouse
Jennifer Brown Estes2/21/2017 - 12/31/2020Threatened Buildings and Sites
Sharon Felton1/1/2018 - 12/31/2020Historic Districts; Princess Anne County Confederate Statue Roundtable (co-chair)
Harriet Frenzel1/1/2017 - 12/31/2019 
Michael Hucles7/2/2019 – 12/31/2020 
James M. Jordan IV1/1/2019 - 12/31/2021 
Patrick Kane4/16/2019 - 12/31/2020 
Chief Lee Lockamy1/1/2018 - 12/31/2020 
Katherine Paulson1/1/2019 - 12/31/2021Recognition of Historic Buildings
C. Mac Rawls1/1/2018 - 12/31/2020Cape Henry Historic Site
Caroline Dixon (Student)8/20/2019 - 7/31/2020Student Leaders (co-chair)
Rachel McGraw (Student)8/20/2019 - 7/31/2020Student Leaders (co-chair)