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Funeral home appeals Herndon denial of plan to demolish old buildings

The main Adams-Green Funeral Home structure is located in downtown Herndon (courtesy Town of Herndon)

(Updated at 2:45 p.m.) The future of two structures built on Elden Street around 1888 is now in limbo.

The longstanding Adams-Green Funeral Home is appealing the Town of Herndon’s decision to deny an application to demolish two homes on 725 Elden Street. The Herndon Town Council will consider the appeal at a work session tonight (Tuesday) at 7 p.m.

At an April 19 Historic District Review Board meeting, commissioners voted unanimously to deny the application on the grounds that both structures contribute to the historic character of the area and qualify as national and state landmarks on the National Register of Historic Places and the Virginia Landmarks Register.

The board also noted that both structures are connected with “historically significant” members of the community.

“The demolition of the 725 Elden Historic Structures could adversely affect the historic district as a whole and particularly adversely effect important view sheds of the historic district and the townscapes of Herndon,” the April 19 resolution denying the application said.

But the funeral home argues that the board failed to follow the requirements of the town’s zoning ordinance and take into a consideration a structural engineer’s report.

“The HDRB failed to consider the long-standing business of the funeral home location at the present site which is a fixture in the historic district and which needs to have additional space to continue to operate its business at the current site,” the appeal says.

The funeral home first filed the application to demolish the two buildings in 2020. The filing was completed in January after town staff asked the applicant to file a site plan showing how it would stabilize the property after demolition.

An engineering analysis by Goughnour Engineering found that the “dilapidated” building is “not a candidate for renovation or reuse.”

Both buildings are located in the Herndon Historic District. They were built in the late 1800s by Charles Reed, a prominent member of the community at the time. His family also started the first funeral business in the town.