Defense Date


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science


Urban and Regional Planning

First Advisor

I-Shian Suen


This thesis explores the evolution and limitations of regulatory and historic district overlay zones and the inherent conflicts between the two as applied in Virginia. Historic district overlay zoning and the establishment of local historic districts and design review boards has developed in response to the failures of traditional zoning techniques to adequately protect the architectural character of Virginia’s historic urban landscapes. After almost fifty years of practice and improvement in the fields of urban planning and historic preservation, synchronizing regulatory and historic district overlay zones still presents difficulties for municipal administrators. Several Virginia jurisdictions are highlighted in the thesis to provide an insight into the application of these planning and preservation paradigms. These different municipal codes will provide a sample set of the most common problems which exist between regulatory and historic district overlay zoning. These issues include-design, nonconforming uses, code and conflicting ordinances, appeals, and demolitions by neglect clauses. While this thesis seeks to identify the most common problems found between regulatory and historic districts within Virginia it is not comprehensive nor does it provide recommendations for how to address the inherent conflicts.


© The Author

Is Part Of

VCU University Archives

Is Part Of

VCU Theses and Dissertations

Date of Submission

December 2010