Historic Overlay District

Design Guidelines Update
In the Summer of 2021, the Architectural Review Board began working with a consultant team from Berkley Group to update the Design Guidelines for the Historic Overlay Districts (HOD).  The guidelines, which were first developed in 1990 (along with several supplements over the years) no longer serve their intended purpose, and need to be updated. The Architectural Review Board, supported by City staff, will work with the consultant team over the next several months to:
1) identify issues within the existing guidelines
2) research current best practices in historic preservation
3) and publish the updated guidelines into a new user-friendly document.  

Project Schedule:

  • Summer 2021 – Project Kickoff, Scoping, and Research – Completed
  • Fall 2021 – Architectural Review Board Review of Draft Guidelines - In Progress
  • Winter 2022 – Public Review Meeting, Final Revisions, and Adoption
  • Spring 2022 – Publish Final Document and Website Updates

For more information on the project, you may contact:
Greg Bokan – gbokan@manassasva.gov (703) 257-8204
Dorothy Baker – drbaker@manassasva.gov (703) 257-8247

There are three designated historic overlay districts in the City: 
Manassas Local Historic District. This historic district is the largest of the three districts and includes over 300 structures. It is approximately 2.5 square miles and composed of the traditional downtown area as well as numerous surrounding neighborhoods.

Liberia Mansion Historic District. This historic district includes the 18 acre site of the Liberia Mansion, a 2 story brick residence dating from 1825 which housed generals from both the Confederate and Union armies and had both Union and Confederate Presidents pay visits.

Mayfield Fort Historic District. This 11.5 acre single-site district contains the remnants of an early plantation called Mayfield and the foundations of a Civil War-era fort.

Design Guidelines
A set of design guidelines has been developed to provide detailed information and direction for the Architectural Review Board and property owners within the local historic district. These guidelines are based upon the Secretary of the Interior’s Standards for the Treatment of Historic Properties. The Architectural Review Board uses these design guidelines to review the appropriateness of an application. Copies of the guidelines can be downloaded (see list below).  If you own property in the historic district, you might need to fill out an  Architectural Review Board Application before you begin any improvement project.


The Historic Overlay District (HOD) as defined in the Code of Virginia, § 15.2-2201 and the City of Manassas Zoning Ordinance promotes the general welfare, health, and safety of the public through the perpetuation of those areas of individual structures and/or premises which have been, or may be, officially designated by the City Council as having historic or architectural significance. The Historic Overlay District was created to: 

  • Protect against deterioration, destruction of, or encroachment upon historic or architecturally significant structures, and/or areas.
  • Encourage uses which will lead to their continuance, conservation, and improvement in an appropriate manner.
  • Ensure that new structures and uses within such district will be in keeping with the historic or architecturally significant character to be preserved.

Architectural Review Board
The Architectural Review Board was created for the purposes of administering and overseeing the Historic Overlay District and advising the public in matters involving historically significant sites and preservation. The Architectural Review Board issues Certificates of Appropriateness for construction, reconstruction, substantial exterior alteration, demolition, or relocation within an historic overlay district.   Architectural Review Board Application

Contact Us
For additional questions call 703-257-8247 or 703-257-8278.

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