Commission of Architectural Review (CAR)

The Commission of Architectural Review (CAR) is Richmond’s official historic preservation body and is charged with reviewing all exterior changes to structures within the city’s Old and Historic Districts and issuing Certificates of Appropriateness for those projects that it deems to be appropriate.

The CAR bases all its decisions on the Richmond Old & Historic Districts Handbook and Design Review Guidelines, adopted in 1999. The handbook is primarily intended to provide clear and objective recommendations for the preservation, restoration or rehabilitation of structures that fall within any of the city’s Old & Historic Districts.

Living in a City Old and Historic District

Property owners within a historic district have a responsibility to follow the additional zoning laws for their property. This includes businesses as well as private residences. Any exterior changes to the buildings on the property, including certain landscape material, must come to the Commission of Architectural Review for approval. The Commission issues Certificates of Appropriateness (COA’s) for approved work. This needs to be obtained before any other permits. Some of the most common items that come before the Commission are:

  • Removal or installation of windows
  • a change in siding
  • roof repairs and replacement
  • changes to porches, doors, and creating new entrances
  • changes to shutters, awnings, and other ornamentation
  • exterior painting
  • new construction, building additions, and demolitions
  • fences and walls

HMA is here to help! HMA can assist Monument Avenue property owners with submissions to CAR. CAR also consults with the HMA board on all Monument Avenue submissions before approval, so proactive engagement with HMA can prove beneficial.

CAR flyer

Neighboring Neighborhood Associations

Fan District Association

The Fan District Association is dedicated to the preservation, restoration, and betterment of our urban community. 

open in new browser tab >

West Avenue Improvement Association

The WAIA is dedicated to the orderly development, preservation and restoration of the neighborhood.

open in new browser tab >

Museum District Association

The mission of the Museum District Association shall be to unite, protect and advance the interests of the neighborhood.

open in new browser tab >

HMA Mission Statement

HMA advocates for the historical preservation, restoration, and pertinent development of Monument Avenue while promoting civic, cultural and educational initiatives in our immediate community.