Local Historic District Abolished
Precedent-Setting Victory for Property Rights
MONTEREY, VIRGINIA— On December 19, 2002, the Monterey Town Council voted 4 to 2 to abolish the town’s historic district. In a public meeting, with members of the Highland County Board of Supervisors and the Highland County Planning Commission present, Council pointedly ignored the Planning Commission’s unanimous recommendation to retain the district in the zoning plan. The vote was a precedent-setting action which is generating repercussions throughout the Commonwealth.
The Monterey Historic District, in place since 1981 and encompassing the whole town, was one of about 200 local districts throughout Virginia. Dr. Robert Carter, Director of the Community Services Division, Virginia Department of Historic Resources in Richmond, stated: “Our department is not aware of any other local government in Virginia that has dissolved its local historic district.”
Monterey (est.1848), a small Allegheny Mountain community in the western part of the Commonwealth, is the county seat of one of the most sparsely-inhabited rural counties in the east, with a total county population of approximately 2,600 and an economy mainly based on cattle, sheep and timbering.