Planning a Renovation Project? Contact the Ghent Neighborhood League!

The process of renovating a house can be enough of a challenge on its own.  If you live in the Ghent Historic District, there is the additional challenge of navigating the project review process.  The Ghent Neighborhood League is here to help!

The process requires that any project within the Historic District must obtain approval (a Certificate of Appropriateness) from the city’s Architectural Review Board (ARB).  Prior to evaluation of a project at one of the ARB’s regular meetings, owners are also asked to coordinate with the Ghent Neighborhood League’s Project Review Committee, which serves an advisory role to the ARB.

Members of the GNL Project Review Committee are first and foremost your neighbors, as well as fellow owners of historic structures.  We understand the need for improvements of various types and support efforts to make appropriate renovations.  Our approach is not to resist change at all costs. Otherwise, we’d all still be using hand-pumps in our kitchens and outhouses in our back yards.

In evaluating project applications, GNL considers the same preservation criteria as the ARB.  Not all projects will be found appropriate: replacement of original windows, for example, is seldom appropriate in a historic district, as are other proposed changes that fundamentally change the materials or character of a historic building.  GNL’s committee can help advise homeowners on potential pitfalls and solutions.  

At the start of any project, please contact the preservation planner at the City of Norfolk for consultation and guidance on the application process (  

Then contact GNL President or Review Committee Chairman (757-266-2054) to schedule a meeting date to review your project. We typically meet the first Wednesday of each month, prior to the ARB meeting the following Monday.

Most of us have chosen to live in Ghent because we believe it’s a special place, and thoughtful renovations help maintain the character and value of the neighborhood.  With these goals in mind, we look forward to working together to simplify your renovation process.