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Board Expected to Downgrade Historic Status of Pike Buildings

Rappahannock Coffee (photo via ChipIn.com)The historic designation for the Rappahannock  Coffee and L.A. Nails buildings has been downgraded to clear the way for an apartment building to be built in their place.

The County Board will likely decide on Saturday to designate 2408 Columbia Pike and 2338-2344 Columbia Pike as “historic facades,” a step down from their current “historic buildings” designation, which grants them full preservation.

The two buildings were designated as historic in 2002 as part of the Columbia Pike revitalization plan. According to the county’s staff report, they were again designated historic in the plan’s 2005 update.

“The [Form-Based Code], like the 2002 and 2005 Columbia Pike Initiative plans, does not provide a specific rationale for the historic designations or guidance on changing such designations,” the staff report states.

A historic facade designation would help to preserve the front of the building, but would allow the rest of the building to be demolished.

The decision to downgrade the protection was approved unanimously by the Historical Affairs and Landmark Review Board. The property owner, B.M. Smith and Associates, discovered that the buildings were built in the 1950s, not the 1930s “as staff had assumed” when giving the structures their historic designation, according to the staff report.

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