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2013 Speaker Series - May 15


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Historic Preservation in the District of Columbia 2000-2012: Progress and Challenges - Lessons learned from Washington, DC's Historic Preservation Review Board - Revitalization, urban design, historic preservation, downtown redevelopment.

Discussion Summary: The speaker will discuss the evolution of the Washington, DC Historic Preservation Review Board’s project review. He will also discuss the approval process over an 11-year period that marked significant growth in the redevelopment of downtown Washington, DC, and the role played by the city’s historic preservation ordinance in that redevelopment.

There will be a slide presentation illustrating planning and design issues, and impacts of the DC historic preservation review process-including before and after-and examples of successful and less successful efforts to integrate historic buildings in the redevelopment “off the Mall” in downtown Washington.

  •  View/download a copy of the presentation here.
Date/Time: Wednesday, May 15, 2013 at 10:30 a.m.–12:00 p.m.
Location: Board Room, 4th Floor, County Administration Building (CAB), 14741 Governor Oden Bowie Drive, Upper Marlboro, MD 20772
CM: 1.5 hours

Tersh Boasberg, Esq., Former Chairman, DC Historic Preservation Review Board.   

Bio: Tersh Boasberg is a lawyer in Washington D.C. He was Chair of the DC Historic Preservation Review Board 2000-2010 and a member/Chair of the DC Zoning Commission 1989-93. He teaches a writing intensive seminar in Historic Preservation Law as Adjunct Professor of Law at Georgetown University Law Center and also in Goucher College’s Masters of Arts in Historic Preservation program. He has been active in DC neighborhood and downtown preservation and zoning battles, as well as in regional growth control issues. He was the lead attorney protecting the Virginia battlefields of Manassas, Brandy Station, and Kernstown. He is former president of the Alliance to Preserve the Civil War Defenses of Washington; a founder of Preservation Action, the national grass roots preservation lobbying organization; his neighborhood Cleveland Park Historical Society; and a former Trustee of the National Building Museum. He has recently received lifetime achievement awards from the Civil War Trust, Committee of 100 on the Federal City, and the DC Office of Planning. He is a graduate of Yale University and Harvard Law School.

Mr. Boasberg will speak on the redevelopment of Downtown Washington, DC and how the city’s historic preservation ordinance fostered that redevelopment. Specifically, the purpose of the historic preservation ordinance is to protect, enhance, and perpetuate properties of historic, cultural, and aesthetic merit, so that they can contribute to the city’s cultural, social, economic, political, and architectural history. It seeks an equitable balance between the rights of private property owners and the benefits to the public that historic preservation can convey. The protection of the city’s historic structures and places, cultural icons, and naturally beautiful landmarks helps to maintain the city’s distinctive attractiveness, which creates a sense of civic pride and community cohesion. What the city is able to accomplish through the land preservation ordinance adds to the economic stability of the city in that it seeks to ensure that Washington, DC will continue to be a place where private sector entrepreneurs will want to locate their businesses and public sector employers will want to establish their places of employment for a future of greater prosperity.   

All cities go through cycles of economic and infrastructure decline and revitalization, and the work that Mr. Boasberg has done over the years has significantly helped to preserve the history of our Nation’s Capital, revitalize areas that have undergone changes over the years, and use the best principals of urban design and architecture to demonstrate best practices as they relate to using landmarks and historic districts for the education, pleasure, and welfare of Washington, DC residents and visitors.