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Apply to HPRB for Concept Review

To apply for concept review by the Historic Preservation Review Board (HPRB), follow the steps below. The application process is managed by the Historic Preservation Office (HPO).

For concept review by the Commission of Fine Arts (CFA), see guidance about Old Georgetown Review or Shipstead-Luce Review.

Step 1: Plan Ahead and Begin Consultation

Concept review is an open process that allows HPRB to evaluate projects at public meetings. At these meetings, HPRB considers not just your application and HPO recommendations, but also public comment from the affected Advisory Neighborhood Commission (ANC) and any other interested groups or persons. You should plan on a schedule that allows you to respond to these comments and revise your plans if needed.

HPRB rules encourage applicants to consult with neighbors and the community as appropriate for the scope of the project. Before filing an application, you should anticipate the likely level of public interest in your proposal. If the project is relatively small and will affect only a few neighbors, it is advisable to inform them of it in advance and understand any concerns they may express.

If your project involves substantial construction that may affect the community, you should discuss it with HPO and interested community organizations before filing. Major project reviews proceed more smoothly if you work with HPO, ANCs, and any others interested to identify and resolve as many concerns as possible before presenting to HPRB. ANCs typically expect this consultation to occur before HPRB meets to review the project.

If your project requires special approvals such as a zoning variance or certification for tax credits, you should consult with HPO and relevant agencies to coordinate the sequence of these reviews.

Step 2: Prepare the Application

Review the submission requirements and prepare the application.

Step 3: Submit the Application

Submit the initial filing for HPRB review at the Permit Center of the Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs (DCRA), at 1100 4th Street SW, 2nd floor, Desk 10. Applications must be made in person. To avoid back-ups at the filing counter on the deadline date, filing before the deadline is recommended.

Step 4: Post Public Notice

When you apply for concept review, HPO gives you one or more public notice placards to post on the property. Within five days of filing, post the required public notice as directed in the instructions.The public notice must remain posted for the duration of the HPRB review process.

Step 5: Consult with the HPO Staff

The HPO staff reviewer will contact you after receiving your application. If HPO finds the project consistent with preservation standards, the staff reviewer will advise you on next steps. The HPO reviewer may also ask to meet with you to discuss the project. This is an opportunity to address any concerns the staff may raise, and to identify any supplemental application materials that may be needed. You may revise the project plans without resubmitting the application, and may also defer the review to a later HPRB meeting if you need more time. If you prefer not to change the plans in response to HPO comments, you may proceed to the HPRB meeting and HPO will present its concerns in the written staff report.

Step 6: Complete Community Consultation

Complete recommended community consultation before the HPRB meeting.

Step 7: Submit the Final Application Materials

Submit the final application materials directly to HPO by the final plans submission date. Deliver materials directly to the HPO office at 1100 4th Street SW, Room E650.

Step 8: Read the HPO Report and Recommendation

Once your case is scheduled for HPRB review, HPO prepares a written report and recommendation for the public meeting. This report is available on the Friday of the week before the meeting. You should be prepared to discuss any concerns raised in the HPO report at the meeting.

Step 9: Present at the HPRB Meeting

If your case is on the agenda at the HPRB meeting, either you or a representative should attend to present the project and answer questions. If your case is on the consent calendar, you do not need to attend.

At the meeting, HPRB considers your presentation, the HPO report, and public comments. The Board members evaluate the project and give their recommendations. They may recommend revisions, approve the project concept, or state why the project is not compatible with preservation standards. If HPRB approves the concept, it typically delegates final review of revisions and the permit application to HPO.

Step 10: After the HPRB Meeting

Once HPRB approves your project concept, you may proceed to develop the plans for a permit application. If you make any significant changes, you should consult with HPO to make sure the changes are consistent with the concept approval. You should also ensure that the affected ANC is aware of any major changes directly related their expressed concerns.

If HPRB has requested a resubmission of revised plans for further review, you should consult with HPO to make sure the resubmission is adequate for reconsideration by HPRB. HPO will then reschedule the case for an upcoming HPRB meeting.

If HPRB has found your project concept inconsistent with preservation standards, you may submit revised plans for reconsideration. You may also seek review by the Mayor’s Agent, but to file for that review, you must develop architectural plans sufficient for a building permit application and zoning clearance.