Westover Getting Historic Designation?

by Dan Lesniak

The Arlington County Board will consider designating Westover as a local historic designation, according to ARLNOW. The report says a group of residents being backed by the Arlington County Green party are pushing for the designation. If the board votes to move forward with this request it would conduct additional studies including proposals on boundaries and development rules before voting on whether to adopt the designation.

If the Board designated Westover as a local historic district, it would limit real estate development in the area and impose restrictions on tear-down homes and renovations. Property owners that wanted to tear down an existing property to develop another would have to offer it up for sale for a year in the current condition before getting approval for a tear down and rebuild. Property owners would also have to go through an approval process prior to conducting a renovation or rebuild of a new home.

While some residents are supporting the measure many others oppose the restrictions on property rights that come with the designation. It would definitely be a set back for people who bought homes that fit their current lifestyle, but had the goal of renovating them in the future or building a complete new construction.

How Would this Affect Westover?

As a property owner and real estate agent in Arlington, I definitely see the move as one that would hurt real estate values in that area, especially home owners that have older homes that would be a good fit for developers or builders to renovate or build new. In addition to creating restrictions on development, the designation would create a review process for owners to go through prior to developing or building a new home. So in addition to limiting options for real estate owners it would also add more time to the development and building process. This would make the area less attractive to people considering buying with the intention of either improving the home for themselves or for others.

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