Preservation Policy Issues
Government policies and decisions at the local, state, and federal levels have a major impact on neighborhoods, rural areas, and downtowns throughout Virginia. Preservation Virginia works with our partners and our network of preservationists to build public support for preservation, identify priority issues that impact our cultural, architectural, and historic heritage, develop action strategies to respond to challenges and to take advantage of opportunities, and achieve success on significant preservation issues.
Constituents need to remind governmental leaders about the positive economic, educational, and community benefits of preservation, and to ensure that preservation values are considered in making decisions about growth, development, transportation, and other important issues.
How can you get involved? This site will lead you to links and discussions about a number of key policy issues. Check back frequently and get involved in helping to improve preservation policies.
Be sure to sign up for our Legislative Alerts. Email Alexis Feria email@example.com to be added to the Alert List or use the form at the bottom of this page. And if there is a public policy issue you think we should know about or could help with, please let us know.
Advocacy Opportunities at the State and Local Level
2015 Virginia General Assembly Session
The next session of the Virginia General Assembly Session begins on January 14, 2015. In preparation for the session, Preservation Virginia is monitoring early bill filings and the budget discussion to share with you the latest developments and how they will impact historic preservation across the Commonwealth. Here are some simple but significant steps you can take:
- Sign up for the Preservation Alerts that will be issued each Monday during the General Assembly session.
- Take action when needed to help support legislation and budget issues related to historic preservation.
- Know who your Delegate and Senator are and be prepared to speak to them about important preservation issues. To find out who your legislator is go to http://virginiageneralassembly.gov/ and click at the center top of the page.
- Let us know if you take action and if you hear back from your legislator.
- Attend Preservation Virginia’s legislative reception on February 5, 2015.
Defending the State Historic Rehabilitation Tax Credit
Virginia’s tax credits for historic rehabilitation are an incredibly successful tool that has saved historic buildings, helped revitalize communities, and added an estimated $3.9 billion to the state’s economic health. Yet these credits have been under attack. Here are two important resources to help us spread the word about the importance of this valuable tool:
- Economic Impact of Historic Rehabilitation Tax Credit Programs in Virginia - a study conducted for Preservation Virginia by Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU )
- Facts about Virginia’s Historic Rehabilitation Tax Credit
Defending Virginia’s Land Preservation Tax Credit
Given the budget pressures facing Virginia, Governor McAuliffe has proposed changes to the Land Preservation Tax Credit that will reduce the amount of tax credit individuals or couples can claim each year. The Governor did not propose reducing the overall size of the program ($100 million per year). Some legislators have suggested steeper cuts in the state’s primary land conservation tool.
Virginia’s Endangered Historic Sites
Each year in May, Preservation Virginia announces Virginia’s Most Endangered Sites. The listing is a way to heighten awareness of the threats to historic places, solutions that continue their use and contributions to a locality and local preservation efforts. To learn more about the list visit: http://preservationvirginia.org/programs/most-endangered
Work continues on the following issues:
James River Crossing (2013 Listing) —Dominion Power requested a permit to construct a transmission line from Surry to Skiffes Creek. The line would include 17 towers, some as tall as the Statue of Liberty, with large colored balls, daytime blinking lights and nighttime steady lights. The crossing is at the worst possible stretch of the river. This is the route John Smith took as he left and returned to Jamestown on his voyages. This 51 miles stretch has been honored, respected and preserved for generations. The towers will be visible from Historic Jamestowne, Carter’s Grove, the Colonial Parkway and will greatly alter the experience on the Captain John Smith Chesapeake National Historic Trail. To see a computer simulation of the towers and the impact on the James River visit-- http://blog.preservationnation.org/2014/11/28/see-james-river-new-way-help-protect-view/#.VK2H28t0zcs
Preservation Virginia is a consulting party in the Section 106 process. Sign up for our alerts and follow us on Facebook to find out how you can help.
Shockoe Bottom (2014 Listing)— For almost 200 years, Shockoe Bottom was the center of the slave trade. During the operation of the markets, hundreds of thousands of people were bought and sold. Solomon Northrup spent several nights in one of the slave pens before travelling to his final destination.
The public-private Revitalize RVA Plan contemplates intensive construction and redevelopment within the Shockoe Bottom flood plain, including a stadium and storm water flood-control infrastructure. These activities will adversely impact historic and archaeological resources that are listed or eligible for listing on the National Register of Historic Places. Solution: the City needs to engage in a a community planning effort to envision ways to honor the history and tell the stories of the people of Shockoe Bottom, as well as ways to appropriate development area. Since to date, the City has shown no interest in launching that effort. Community groups are taking on that responsibility. In the spring 2015, local organizations including the Defenders for Social Justice and RVA Archaeology plan to hold community meetings to begin this process. http://wric.com/2014/12/30/lupita-nyongo-pens-saveshockoe-letter-to-mayor-jones/
Sign up for our alerts and follow us on Facebook to find out how you can help.
Fort Monroe (2007 Listing)—In 2005, the US Army announced that this 570 acre active military installation would be vacated and abandoned in 2011 under the 2005 BRAC procedures. The property was to revert back to the Commonwealth. With its extraordinary collection of 170 historic buildings, the moated fort and natural areas at the mouth of the Chesapeake, Fort Monroe presents a magnificent if not also challenging opportunity. The history of the site dates to the Kecoughtan Indians and charts the history of our nation from the arrival of John Smith’s settlers through the American Revolution and Civil War and to the 20th century military history. It is here that slavery was brought to shores of the Virginia Colony in 1619 and it is here that steps towards freedom began when three runaway slaves emancipated themselves by seeking refuge at the fort. Thousands followed.
Since the listing on the Endangered List, Preservation Virginia joined colleagues in the planning and implantation process for the future of this very important site. In 2011, President Obama established a portion of the 565 acres as Fort Monroe National Monument. Together with the Fort Monroe Authority, a political subdivision of the Commonwealth of Virginia, Fort Monroe is being preserved as a place for people to visit, work and live in the midst of history. To learn more visit http://www.fmauthority.com/ and http://www.nps.gov/fomr/index.htm
Rosenwald Schools (2014 Listing)— The Rosenwald rural school building program was a major effort by Julius Rosenwald to improve the quality of public education for African- Americans. Between 1917 and 1932, more than 360 Rosenwald schools were built in rural areas across Virginia. These historic structures are often threatened with demolition due to lack of awareness and neglect. Preservation Virginia launched an initiative in 2014 to provide community groups and individual owners with the preservation tools needed to preserve these schools. Working with John Tyler Community College, Virginia Association of Museums and the Virginia Foundation for Humanities the program will help localities identify new uses for the schools, the legacy of these community centers will thrive once more.
Tobacco Barn Project (2009 Listing)—Preservation Virginia launched a program in 2012 to help raise awareness of this vernacular structure that is quickly disappearing from the country side. To learn more visit http://preservationvirginia.org/programs/tobacco-barns-protection-project
Advocacy Opportunities at the Federal Level
Preservation Virginia and the National Trust for Historic Preservation are working together to improve historic preservation policies at the federal level. The next Congressional session is likely to bring a review of many sources of revenue. The federal Historic Tax Credit (HTC) program has been a great incentive for revitalization, job creation, and revenue generation. We need to ensure that the program continues to be a source for this kind of development.
Creating American Prosperity through Preservation (CAPP) Act, bipartisan legislation that would increase the HTC's ability to revitalize smaller Main Street projects and enable energy-efficient projects. The National Trust, in partnership with the Historic Tax Credit Coalition is leading a multi-year effort to preserve and enhance the Tax Credit program.
You can help.
- Ask your Representatives and Senators to co-sponsor the CAPP Act.
- Highlight projects in your area and make people aware of how tax credits made the project possible.
Here are some useful resources on federal tax credits:
- Maps of federal tax credit projects in Virginia – can check both statewide and by district.
- Contact Your Member of the House of Representatives
- Contact Your U.S. Senators
In addition, Preservation Action works to advocate for federal legislation on a range of historic preservation issues.
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