BECKLEY, W.Va. — A large and unauthorized painting project within Beckley’s Historic District last week is symptomatic of a chronic issue of building owners working without proper permits.
According to Beckley’s ordinances, any change in a structure’s exterior or signage must first be approved by the Historic Landmarks Commission, which is tasked with making sure historic structures reflect the early 1900s. All historic structures in the national historic district must have a Certificate of Appropriateness from the commission before they can receive a permit from the City of Beckley.
A dark brown paint was applied over the gold brick common in the Beckley Historic District. Existing gold brick in downtown is the reason the judicial annex was constructed in gold, to match existing historic structures.
Chief Code Enforcement Officer Bob Cannon spoke with the workers and the painting came to a halt; however, all but a small portion of the front facade has been painted.
Blair Frier, Charleston-based architect and former Beckley Historic Landmarks commissioner, said preservation guidelines say that structures that weren’t painted historically should not be.
“That makes good sense because once you paint brick buildings, you are going to have ongoing maintenance…