A preservation easement or covenant is a legal agreement between the owner of a historic property and the Historic Petersburg Foundation, Inc. (HPF) that establishes perpetual protection of the property.
HPF wants to ensure the perpetuation of the covenant property and its historic and architectural features. In order to carry out this desire, HPF records protective easements or covenants on historic properties it owns for resale. Owners are legally obligated to honor the terms of the easement.
Several purposes of the protective covenants are to stabilize and improve property value in the historic districts and to encourage new building and development that will be harmonious with the existing historic buildings, but will not necessarily be of the same architectural style. The purpose is to develop the historic areas, not in a vacuum, but as a vital area in which each succeeding generation may build with the quality and sensitivity of past generations.
The restrictions imposed by the protective easements upon the covenant property are in accord with the policy of the Commonwealth of Virginia, as set forth in Virginia Code sections 10.1-2200 et seq., in effect as of the date of the document, to preserve the principal architectural and historical landmarks in the Commonwealth of Virginia, together with their settings.
Mixing modern life while preserving the past requires stewardship of a special and dedicated nature for owners of historic properties. By following the guidelines outlined in the Secretary of the Interior’s Standards for Rehabilitation, the historic integrity of your covenant property will remain intact while it is adapted to the demands of daily life.
The terms of these covenants are binding on the present property owner and on all successive owners in perpetuity. However, property owners may submit a written request to HPF’s Real Estate Committee to propose modifying the covenants.
With preservation as our goal, covenants are one tool that the Historic Petersburg Foundation, Inc. uses to protect Petersburg’s 18th and 19th century architecture.