City board rules to enforce historic guidelines

The Manassas City Council chose to send a message Monday night that historic district guidelines for Old Town are meant to be followed.

The council voted unanimously to uphold a previous decision by the Architectural Review Board to prevent a local couple from putting vinyl siding on an Old Town home, located at 9314 West St.

In 2000, the council passed guidelines for the ARB to follow. Since then, the rule has been that vinyl siding is not appropriate when restoration of the original outside appearance of the building is possible.

Vice Mayor Harry “Hal” Parrish Jr. mentioned that this hasn’t always been the case in the past. He stressed the need for the council to stay consistent on the matter in the future.

“I believe this decision will affect future decisions with regard to what the council does with vinyl siding in the historic district,” he said.

Edgar and Fannie Nicolson had hoped to put siding on the home, which they have rented for many years, before moving into it.

And yet Brian Smith, the city’s housing code official, ruled that about 98 percent of the building’s original clapboard was still underneath its fake brick covering, which led to both the ARB and the council’s decisions.

“I think it isn’t fair. They’ve let other people have vinyl siding. I’ve had that house for 30-some years. And they won’t let me do anything with it,” Edgar Nicolson said.

So far, the council has overturned two ARB rulings this year, allowing Trinity Episcopal Church to tear down a house and approving the painting of air conditioning units on the roof of the former Hopkins Candy Factory.

On Monday night, the council went the other way.

“We still have a policy. We still have a historic district. We still have an ARB. It’s appropriate that we allow it to do what it needs to do,” said Councilman J. Steven Randolph.

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