See below to read the rules of the Jefferson County Historic Landmarks Commission, adopted 1988.

I. PURPOSE These rules are adopted by the Jefferson County Historic Landmarks Commission pursuant to the authority of W. Va. Code Sec. 8-26A-5(l) and (m) and the Order of the County Commission dated December 8, 1988, and amended June 30, 1994, January 25, 2007, July 19, 2007, July 8, 2020 for the purpose of implementing the provisions of W. Va. Code Sees. 8-26A-1, et seq., and the provisions of the said Order.

II. DEFINITIONS As used in these rules:

A. “Commission” shall mean the Jefferson County Historic Landmarks Commission.

B. “County Commission” shall mean the County Commission of Jefferson County, West Virginia.

C. “Exterior architectural features” include the architectural character and general composition of a structure, including, but not limited to, the kind, color and texture of the building material and the type, design and character of all windows, doors, light fixtures, signs, other appurtenant elements and natural features when they are integral to the significance of the site, all of which are subject to public view from a public street, way or place.

D. “Historic district” is a geographically definable area possessing a significant concentration, linkage or continuity of sites, buildings, structures or objects united historically or aesthetically by plan or physical development.

E. “Historic landmark” is a site, building, structure or object designated as a “Landmark” either on a national, state or local register.

F. “Historic site” is the location of a significant event, a prehistoric occupation or activity, or a building or structure, whether standing, ruined or vanished, where the location itself possesses historical, cultural or archeological value regardless of the value of any existing structure.

G. “Protected historic landmark” is a historic landmark subject to the provisions of Section VII (“Certificate of Appropriateness”) of these Rules.

H. “Protected Historic District” is a historic district subject to the provisions of Section VII (“Certificate of Appropriateness”) of these Rules


A. Members: The Commission shall consist of five (5) members, as appointed by the County Commission. The members of the Commission shall serve without pay, except that reimbursement for necessary expenses is authorized as provided for by these rules.

B. Officers: The officers of the Commission shall consist of a Chair, Secretary, and a Treasurer, to be elected at the first annual meeting of the Commission. The term of each office shall be for a period of one year.

C. Duties of Officers: The Chair of the Commission shall preside at meetings, but in his or her absence the Secretary or Treasurer, as determined by the majority present, shall preside. The Secretary shall maintain the Commission’s meeting minutes. Minutes of the Commission will be available to the public upon request and posted on the Commission’s website. The Treasurer shall be custodian of any funds handled by the Commission. He or she shall maintain these funds in a bank account. The Chair, Secretary, and Treasurer shall each be authorized to make disbursements from such account on behalf of the Commission. The Treasurer shall maintain accurate and complete financial records and accounts. The Treasurer’s records shall be audited annually. The Treasurer shall be responsible for submitting the Commission’s annual budget to the County Commission, on a date set by the County Commission.

D. Reimbursement: Members of the Commission may be reimbursed by the Commission, to the extent of available funds, upon the presentation of expense vouchers as may be required by the Commission.


A. Regular Meetings: The Commission shall meet regularly to conduct business on the second Wednesday of every other month; February, April, June, August, October, December at 7:00 p.m. in the ground floor meeting room of the Charles Town Library, at 200 East Washington Street, Charles Town, WV. Prior notice shall be provided in the event that any regular meeting is held at a different location, at a different time, or by video conference. The agenda and place of regular meeting shall be posted electronically on Alerts Jefferson County and in the Jefferson County Courthouse at least five (5) days prior to the meeting. Meetings shall be held in accordance with the West Virginia Open Law 6-9A-1 et seq.

B. Special Meetings: Special meetings of the Commission may be held for any purpose. Written notice of the date, time, and place (or will state that the meeting will be held by video conference) of a special meeting shall be posted electronically on Alerts Jefferson County and in the Jefferson County Courthouse not less than 24 hours in advance. A special meeting may be called by the Chair or by majority vote, which vote may be taken by telephone poll.

C. Cancellation of Meetings: For good cause, a regular or special meeting of the Commission may be canceled by majority vote, which vote may be taken by telephone poll

D. Quorum: A majority of the duly appointed members of the Commission shall constitute a quorum for the conduct of business.

E. Voting: A member of the Commission must be present at a meeting to cast a vote. A member must be familiar with all testimony or facts adduced on a matter before casting a vote on such matter. No action of the Commission shall be official unless it is approved by a majority of the members present.

F. Recording of Meetings: All meetings of the Commission shall be electronically recorded and summarized in the written minutes. Written minutes will be posted, after approval, on the Commission’s website. Recordings will be available to the public upon request. Recordings will be maintained for a minimum of five years.

G. Conflict of Interest: No member of the Commission having a direct or indirect financial interest in a matter coming before the Commission shall participate in any discussion or deliberation regarding the matter; and no member having a direct or indirect financial interest in a matter coming before the Commission shall vote on such matter. A member shall fully disclose any other conflict of interest or potential conflict of interest which might arise from his or her participation in the discussion or deliberation of any matter coming before the Commission and shall not vote on such matters. The minutes shall reflect all such disclosures and abstentions.


The Commission may adopt such rules, as it deems appropriate pursuant to W. Va. Code Sees. 8-26A-5 (1) and (m). Before adopting any such rules, other than procedural rules concerning the operation of the Commission, the Commission shall hold a public meeting to allow public comment on the rules. Notice of such hearing shall be published as a Class I legal publication in the Spirit of Jefferson Farmers Advocate at least 30 days prior to the date of such hearing and shall state the time and place of such hearing and shall state the subject matter of the rules which are proposed for adoption.


A. Criteria for Historic Landmark Designation: The Commission may designate an individual building, structure or historic site as an historic landmark if it is:

  1. A property, structure or site that has significant value as part of the heritage of the nation, state or community;
  2. A property, structure or site associated with an important person or event in national, state or local history;
  3. A property, structure or site representative of an architectural and/or landscape type which exemplifies a period, style, craftsmanship, method of construction or use of local materials and retains a high degree of integrity;
  4. A notable work of a master builder, designer, architect or artist;
  5. A property, structure or site identifiable as a familiar visual feature in the community, owing to its unique location or physical characteristics;
  6. A property, structure or site the character of which is a particularly fine or unique example of a utilitarian structure, such as a barn or commercial structure, with a high level of architectural significance;
  7. An area that has yielded or is likely to yield information important in history or prehistory.

B. Criteria for Historic District Designation: The Commission may designate an area as an historic district if it:

  1. is a definable area possessing a significant concentration, linkage or continuity of sites, buildings, structures or objects united historically or aesthetically by place or physical development; and
  2. has been prominently identified with or best represents some major aspect of the cultural, political, economic, military or social history of the locality, region, state or nation; or
  3. has had a major relationship with the life of an historic personage or event representing some major aspect of or ideals related to, the history of the locality, region, state or nation.

C. Procedure for Designation of a Historic District or Landmark: The Commission, upon its own motion or upon application submitted in accordance with Section VI, 4 of these rules, may designate an historic landmark of historic district as provided herein. Prior to the proposed designation of an historic landmark or district, the Commission shall make or cause to be made a report on the historic, cultural and architectural significance of each building, structure, site and district proposed to be so designated based upon the criteria set forth in Sections VI, A, or VI, B of these rules, as applicable.

  1. Within five (5) days of the completion of such report and its adoption by the Commission, the Commission shall:
  2. submit the report, including maps and photographs, as necessary, to the West Virginia Department of Culture and History. In case of a report for a proposed historic district, the Commission shall submit with the report a map showing boundaries of the proposed district.
  3. in the case of a proposed protected historic landmark or protected historic district, submit the proposed designation of the protected historic landmark or protected historic district to the County Commission, together with (i) any proposed regulations and requirements for the proposed district and (ii) a copy of the report required under Section VI, C, (2) for hearing pursuant to W. Va. Code Se 8-26A-6.
  4. submit a copy of the designation, together with (i) any proposed regulations and requirements for the proposed district, and (ii) a copy of the report required under Section VI, C, (2) to the Jefferson County Planning Commission.
  5. The Commission may prescribe the form for an application for designation as an historic landmark or an historic district, including the information required to be submitted therewith.

D. Recording of Notice of Protected Historic Landmark or Historic District Designation: Following designation of a protected historic landmark or protected historic district by the County Commission pursuant to W. Va. Code Sec. 8-26A-6, the Commission shall cause a notice of designation of protected historic landmark or protected historic district to be recorded with the Clerk of the County Commission of Jefferson County under the name of the Jefferson County Historic Landmarks Commission as grantor and the name(s) of the property owner(s) as grantees. Such notice shall contain:

  1. a description of the property or properties so designated;
  2. a statement that as a result of such designation such property is subject to the provisions of W. Va. Code Sec. 8-26-1, et sea.;
  3. a reference to any regulations or requirements applicable to such property as a result of such designation; and
  4. the date on which the designation was made by the County Commission

E. Plaques: The Commission may present to the owner of a property designated an historic landmark, if so requested by such owner, a suitable plaque of a design to be determined by the Commission identifying the property as an historic landmark. The Commission may require the owner of the property to pay the cost of such a plaque. The Commission may make the presentation of such a plaque conditional upon the agreement of the property owner to display it in suitable manner.


A. Requirement for a Certificate of Appropriateness:

  1. No private buildings, site or structure which has been designated as a historic landmark or included within an historic district pursuant to the provisions of W. Va. Code Sect. 8-26A-1, et sea.. and these rules shall be erected, altered, restored or demolished until after an application for a certificate of appropriateness as to exterior architectural features has been submitted to and approved by the Commission.
  2. If earthworks of historical or archeological importance exist in the historic district there shall be no excavating or moving of earth, rock or subsoil or any development upon or around earthworks without a certificate of appropriateness approved by the Commission.

B. Certificate of Appropriateness Application Procedure

  1. Prior to the commencement of any work requiring a certificate of appropriateness the owner shall file an application for such a certificate with the Commission. The application shall contain:
    • the name, address and telephone number of the applicant;
    • the location of the property, identified by tax map parcel or by the deed book and page number of the deed by which the current owner acquired the property;
    • photographs showing the current condition of the property in detail, and specifically showing those portions of the property or any structures on the property which would be affected by the proposed work;
    • elevation drawings of the proposed changes to the extent available;
    • perspective drawings, including relationship to adjacent properties, to the extent available;
    • samples of color or materials to be used;
    • where the proposal includes signs or lettering, a scale drawing showing the type of lettering to be used, all dimensions and colors, a description of materials to be used, methods of illumination and a plan showing the location of the sign on the property;
    • any other information which the Commission deems necessary to evaluate the application.
  2. The Commission shall hold a public hearing on each application for a certificate of appropriateness. Notice of the time and place of such hearing shall be given by publication in the Spirit of Jefferson and Farmers Advocate at least seven (7) days before such hearing, and by posting such notice on or near the main entrance of any hall or room where the Commission usually meets. The Commission shall take such action as shall be required to inform the owners of any property likely to be affected by the application of the time and place of hearing, and shall give the applicant and the owners of any such property the right to be heard at such hearing.

  3. The Commission shall approve the application and issue a certificate of appropriateness if it finds that the proposed actions would be appropriate. In passing upon the appropriateness of the proposed action, the Commission shall consider, in addition to any other pertinent factors, the historical and architectural integrity and significance; architectural style; design, arrangement, texture and materials of exterior architectural features; and the relationship and general compatibility thereof to the historical value of other structures in the surrounding area. To the extent practicable, the Commission shall apply The Secretary of the Interior’s Standards for Rehabilitating Historic Buildings (as revised), published by the U.S. Department of the Interior, National Park Service, a copy of which is appended to these rules as Appendix 1 and incorporated by reference herein.

  4. The Commission shall approve or reject an application for a certificate of appropriateness within 45 days after the filing thereof by the owner or occupant of a historic property or a building, site or structure located within an historic district. Evidence of approval shall be a certificate of appropriateness issued by the commission.

  5. In the event the Commission rejects an application for a certificate of appropriateness, it shall place upon its records and shall transmit a record of such action and reasons therefore, in writing, to the applicant. In such written record, the Commission may make recommendations relative to design, arrangement, texture, material and similar features.

  6. The applicant, of he so desires, may make modifications to the plans and may resubmit the application at any time after doing so.

  7. If the strict application of any provision of these rules would result in exceptional practical difficulty or undue economic hardship upon any owner of any specific property, the commission, in passing upon the application, shall have the power to vary or modify strict adherence to such provision or to interpret the meaning of such provision so as to relieve such difficulty or hardship: provided, however, that such variance, modification or interpretation shall remain in harmony with the general purpose and intent of such provision so that the architectural or historical integrity or character of the property shall be preserved and substantial justice done. In granting variations, the Commission may impose such reasonable and additional stipulations and conditions as will in its judgment best fulfill the purpose of these rules and of W. Va. Code Sec. 8-26A-1, et seq..

  8. Nothing in these rules shall be construed to prevent the ordinary maintenance or repair of any exterior architectural feature in or on an historic property, which maintenance or repair does not involve a material change in design, material or outer appearance thereof, nor to prevent any property owner from making use of his property not prohibited by other laws, ordinances or regulations.

  9. Any person adversely affected by any determinations made by the Commission relative to the issuance or denial of a certificate of appropriateness may appeal such determination as provided by W. Va. Code Sec. 8-26A-7(ll).


The Commission may charge reasonable fees for copying and mailing as provided by applicable law.


The Commission may enforce the provisions of these rules as provided in W. Va. Code Sees. 8-26A-8 and 9.


A. Plan: The Commission shall prepare a comprehensive plan that will prioritize areas of the county for historic landmark surveying. In preparing the plan the Commission shall involve local government officials, preservation organizations, and all persons interested in historic preservation, and the WVSHPO.

B. Survey Procedures: At the first regular meeting after the adoption of a comprehensive plan, the Commission shall identify areas to be surveyed in accordance with the comprehensive plan.

  1. The Commission will develop survey methods with the WVSHPO to assure that the survey meets WVSPHO guidelines and includes a process for updating survey data.
  2. The data from surveys will be available through the Planning Commission and Development Authority, Jefferson County, during regular business hours.

(a) Data will be organized by historic districts or by U.S. Geological Survey Quadrangles.

(b) Inventory data will be indexed to indicate the properties as: National Register listed properties. National Historic Landmark properties, significant but non-registered properties, and non-significant properties.

(c) As data are added to the inventory file, WVSHPO will be provided with inventory documentation.

(d) The Commission will assure that at least one public meeting will be held for the affected property owners during each survey.

  1. The Commission will update its inventory every third year with regard to landmark changes, alterations, and demolitions
  2. The Commission will monitor activities affecting National Register sites in its jurisdiction and will report to the WVSHPO any activity affecting these sites.
  3. The Commission will participate in the National Register Program of West Virginia by reviewing all National Register nominations of properties within its jurisdiction. The commission, after reasonable opportunity for public comment but within sixty days of notification by the WVSHPO, will prepare a report as to whether or not such a property, in its opinion, meets the criteria of the National Register. This process shall be in accordance with West Virginia Legislative Rules governing the Certified Local Government Program, Chapter 29-1, Section 6.


If any article, section, subsection, paragraph or clause of these rules shall be declared by a court of competent jurisdiction to be invalid, such a declaration shall not affect the validity of these rules as a whole or any other part thereof.

End of Rules.