Monday, September 27, 2010

Did you know?

Busy times. I hadn't even realized it's been a week since my last post. But baseball games and Cub Scout camping among other things have conspired to consume most of my free time.

A couple weeks ago, the town put up a 'Did You Know?' (PDF) that essentially serves as an FAQ about the proposed historic district. It's worth reading because it provides useful information, but is also a little limited as it doesn't go into too much detail.

But for those with any interest in the local historic district and especially for those who live within the proposed district, you really should read the latest full draft. Or at the very least, they should check out my post on some of the more significant aspects of this draft.

Perusing the 'Did You Know?', I noted a few of the more noteworthy questions. I've included them below with a little commentary.
Will all the houses in the District have the same Design Guidelines?

Yes. However, the Historic Preservation Commission has determined that structures built after 1945 will not undergo the same level of review as will a structure dated pre-1949.
I think some people surmised that the guidelines would only affect historic homes, but this seems to make clear that all homes will be affected. According to this document, homes constructed after 1945 won't face the same level of review, whatever that means. I don't recall the latest draft discussing two levels of review or regulations, but have an email out to Katie Ross asking for clarification to explain exactly what this means. If this information is readily available and I've just missed it, drop me a line.
Do I have to make changes to my home if I don’t want to?

Absolutely not! Inclusion in the Local Historic District does not require you to restore or fix-up your property. It does, however, ensure that alterations or additions you wish to initiate are in keeping with the special character of your property or the area per the Design Guidelines. *Contact the Planning and Community Development Department for information on Minimum Housing Code Enforcement.
This is good to know as it appears to suggest the town cannot compel you to fix or restore your property. I find this a little strange as the current draft goes to great lengths to make sure homes within the historic district look a certain way. Why give owners the potential to let their property atrophy into an eyesore if how homes look is so important?

Either way, it's good that owners apparently will not be compelled to repair aspects of their homes that don't meet the historically accurate standards required by the WHPC.
Might there be any money available to help offset the cost of a project?

The Board of Commissioners is looking into ways to assist property owners in the Local Historic District by means of a fa├žade improvement grant program and other assistance programs to help offset improvement costs.
I found this to be interesting as it seems to suggest that the costs of maintaining one's home to the WHPC-designed standards will cost more than normal home repairs.

More to come I'm sure.

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