Historic Districts


The historic districts were created for the promotion and preservation of Portsmouth’s educational, cultural, and economic interests. The Truxtun, Cradock, Port Norfolk, Olde Towne, and Park View Historic Districts are established and continued as shown on the City’s Zoning Map.

City offices are now open to the public.

Electronic/digital submission of applications and other materials is encouraged whenever feasible. Consult the Staff Directory or the specific subject page for staff contact information.

Mailed items can be sent to:


Credit card payments can now be accepted over the phone. Please call the Planning Department at 757-393-8836 for more information. Please note that a signed credit card authorization form is required to be submitted before a credit card payment can be processed.

Credit Card Authorization Form (PDF)

New development, rehabilitation, or redevelopment within a historic district requires approval of a Certificate of Appropriateness, COA, (in addition to any other required permits) in accordance with the procedures and requirements in Sec. 40.2-536 Certificates of Appropriateness (COA). An approved COA is required before any other applications can be filed.

Applicants are encouraged to consult the appropriate historic district design guidelines below. For information on the dimensional requirements and district specific standards in historic districts, please see Sec. 40.2-206.

Click here for more information on the Historic Preservation Commission.

Depending on the proposed activity, the review and decision on a COA application may be undertaken administratively by staff or by the Historic Preservation Commission (HPC) at one of their monthly meetings. See the matrix in district guidelines to identify the appropriate review body based on the proposed project type.

Historic Preservation Commission Meeting Schedule and Submission Deadlines (PDF)

Certificate of Appropriateness Application Form Fillable (PDF) 

Historic Sub-Districts Map

Related Documents

Click here to view the HPC approved paint color references for Olde Towne, Port Norfolk, Park View, Cradock, and Truxtun Historic Districts.

The Cradock Infill House Plans and the Truxtun Infill House Plans are pre-approved plans that may be utilized for new construction of single-family dwellings in the respective historic districts. A COA application is required for pre-approved Cradock and Truxtun plans that will be administratively approved. Any deviations from the plan will require review by the HPC. 

Cradock Neighborhood Strategic Plan

Truxtun Plan 2008

Historic Preservation Commission Roof Analysis (PDF)

Historic Rehabilitation Tax Credits

The preservation of historic buildings benefits communities and connects us to our heritage, enriching the quality of our lives in many tangible and intangible ways. Their preservation also provides demonstrable economic benefits.

Through the federal and state rehabilitation tax credit programs, property owners are given substantial incentives for private investment in preservation, resulting in enormous advantages to the public.

Both the federal and state tax credit programs are administered in Virginia through the Virginia Department of Historic Resources (DHR).

State tax credits are available for owner-occupied, as well as income-producing buildings. If your property is income-producing, you may also be able to take advantage of federal tax credits. Additional information and assistance with tax-credit projects may be requested from DHR’s Richmond office. Contact Chris Novelli at (804) 482-6097.

What buildings qualify for the tax credit program?

The credits described above are available only for Certified Historic Structures, which are defined as follows:

Under the Federal program, a certified historic structure is one that is either:

  • Individually listed on the National Register of Historic Places, or
  • Certified as contributing to a district that is so listed.

Under the State program, a certified historic structure is one that is:

  • Individually listed on the Virginia Landmarks Register, or
  • Certified as eligible for listing, or
  • Certified as a contributing structure in a district that is so listed.

Comparison of Federal and State Historic Rehabilitation Tax Credits

Rehabilitation Tax Credits Frequently Asked Questions

How can I get additional information?

"CAN DO" Help Video

Interested in moving to or renovating construction in one of Portsmouth’s Historic Districts? Check out our informational video here! For more information, contact Planning at 757-393-8836.