Dear Holmes Run Acres Neighbor, 

This survey is being done at the request of the Holmes Run Acres Civic Association (HRACA) to assess whether the community supports a Historic Overlay District (HOD) to help protect and preserve the siting, scale, and unique character of this neighborhood, while allowing flexibility for growth and evolution. It comes at the end of a three-year effort to canvass the neighborhood, document its architecture, and collect the opinions and concerns of the community. 

Established in 1951, Holmes Run Acres is an architect-designed community of approximately 350 mid-century-modern homes which were individually sited by master architect Francis D. Lethbridge, FAIA, to take best advantage of the “street, neighbors, terrain, [and] climate factors” (Architectural Forum, August 1951). The National Park Service and the Virginia Department of Historic Resources have recognized its architectural and historic significance, listing Holmes Run Acres on the National Register of Historic Places and the Virginia Landmarks Register, respectively. 

This information package consists of proposed Holmes Run Acres Design Guidelines and draft language for the zoning ordinance amendment and comprehensive plan amendment that, if adopted by the Board of Supervisors, would establish the Holmes Run Acres HOD. An HOD would add regulations and protections that go beyond the existing zoning ordinance and Fairfax County permitting process.

Fairfax County HODs protect 15 architecturally and historically significant areas—including nearly 500 mid-century modern homes in Hollin Hills. In these areas, Fairfax County requires design review before taking action on certain zoning, development, and permit applications—the most typical example being building permits for exterior work (i.e., additions and new construction). Design review is free and is conducted by the Fairfax County Architectural Review Board (ARB). As of July 2022, the ARB meets virtually and consists of architectural, legal, historical, and other related professionals appointed by the Board of Supervisors.

Under an HOD, new projects that require certain zoning or building permit applications which affect the property’s exterior would require ARB review. The ARB would work with the applicant to realize a design that generally respects the character of the HOD using the design guidelines, offering suggestions for modifications as appropriate. Once a majority of the ARB approves the design, the project could proceed with the other required approval and/or permitting processes.

This process is designed to be flexible and collaborative, considering the unique existing features and/or challenges of each property. The requirement of ARB review would be limited only to exterior work that requires County approval and/or permits. Recommendations listed in the Design Guidelines for items that do not require ARB review are suggestions for those who wish to use them to maintain the historic character of their home.

If you have any questions about the ARB or proposed Design Guidelines, we recommend reaching out to County Heritage Resources staff ( You may peruse the county website on this subject ( Additionally, you are welcome to consult with the many professionals in our own neighborhood who have diverse development, architectural, and zoning perspectives.  Contact information and additional information on zoning, historic preservation, and remodeling your home are available at


The Holmes Run Acres Civic Association Board of Directors