Boasberg departs as chair of D.C Historic Preservation Review Board
Tersh Boasberg is retiring after a decade as chairman of the District’s panel for identifying and protecting historic properties.
Catherine Buell, an attorney at Patton Boggs LLP who was appointed to the board in 2008 by Mayor Adrian Fenty, was sworn in as the new chair last week.
Tanya Washington, chief of staff for the Office of Planning, which houses the board, said that Boasberg “stepped down voluntarily and actually had recommended Ms. Buell” as his replacement. Boasberg’s term was set to expire in July. He is traveling abroad and could not be reached.
An attorney who specializes in land use, historic preservation and the environment, Boasberg possesses a tremendous knowledge of the city’s historic buildings. He became chairman at a time when the city’s downtown was enjoying a renaissance of development and many preservationists were concerned about the future of its architecturally and historically significant buildings.
One of the board’s most controversial decisions during his tenure was likely its 2007 unanimous vote deeming the Third Church of Christ, Scientist building at 16th and I Streets near the White House an historic landmark, over the objections of the church's congregation. The ruling blocked a redevelopment for the site the church planned with developer ICG Properties.
In 2009, as President Barack Obama’s inauguration ceremony approached, Boasberg wrote the president-elect to explain the history behind some of the buildings Obama would be passing on the parade route. “While your election clearly evokes the memory of Abraham Lincoln,” Boasberg wrote, “you may not be aware of just how much his presence still lingers along your inauguration route.”
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