What Local Historic District DOES NOT do: · Does not regulate paint colors · Does not require repairs or renovations to be made · Does not increase taxes beyond normal increases for the City or County · Does not prevent additions · Does not prevent non-contributing homes from being demolished · Does not require use of historic materials or historic building methods · Does not require that you open you home to the public · Does not restrict routine maintenance of properties
What Local Historic District DOES do: · Recognizes that Oakhurst has a distinctive historic character important to the overall character of the City of Decatur · Encourages creative and compatible development with historic areas · Requires that a Certificate of Appropriateness be obtained for exterior changes to contributing properties, demolition of buildings, and new construction. · Applies only to major renovations to the exterior of your home. Interior renovations are not restricted.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Studies show that LHDs sustain diversity and racial mix of a community

Studies show that Local Historic Districts sustain diversity and racial mix of a community compared to more traditional suburban communities that are mostly segregated. With the rapid level of infill construction of home priced $600,000 - $1,000,000, will we be able to retain that diversity?

Retaining diversity, avoiding the displacement of our elderly, poor and even middle class residents, and providing affordable housing within a community are concerns for any community that finds themselves with great demand for available land and therefore rapidly increases in land values.

It is true that there is a published paper "The Economic Power of Restoration" found at www.wisconsinhistory.org/hp/smartgrowth/economic_power_of_restoration.pdf. It states that historic districts reflect the diversity of a community unlike the majority of urban and suburban subdivisions that tend to be racially segregated. Why? Because a local historic district encourages a variety of housing sizes and therefore a variety of housing prices. Given the current land value in Decatur it is unrealistic to think we will easily provide affordable housing, but lhd can help us to maintain our diversity for what we hope is many more years.

Many of our neighbors can not afford homes being priced from $600,000 - $1,000,000 in our neighborhood even if they sell their own homes for $300,000-$400,000 with 100% equity. Will that mean that continued infill development will mean a loss of diversity for Oakhurst? Only time will tell for certain.

5 comments:

Anonymous said...

You fail to point out that we currently live in a demographically diverse neighborhood now and are not starting from a point of no diversity unlike the homes discussed in your post. I for one moved to this neighborhood for the diversity and "character" that such diversity provides. If Oakhurst is designated as a LHD, the diversity of Oakhurst and such character is likely to be jeopardized, which presents a real and valid concern for many of our neighbors who truly value diversity. You additionally fail to point out the negative impact that a LHD will have on financially challenged residents of Oakhurst by adding extra layers of review which will likely increase the time and costs it will take to keep our older homes in working order. Further, as one of your earlier posts pointed out, infill is not occurring in the proposed district at the rate it is occurring in other parts of the City or Oakhurst (providing the exact addresses in which infill has occurred in the proposed district would be of assistance in this debate). So, what is it you are really trying to protect?

Anonymous said...

anonymous,
There are many studies that show demographically diverse neighborhoods have a better chance of staying that way with an LHD. There are no restrictions in an LHD that slow down or keep you from doing maintenance on our homes. I remember very few if any instances of Oakhurst's financially challenged people making material changes that would require a COA. When I was a financially challenged home owner I could not afford ANY material changes to my 1913 bungalow. It was near impossible for me to keep paint on the wood siding and a working roof (maintanence). This is not a poor issue. Poor people don’t make additions or roof-line changes to their house. They are not the people that are doing inappropriate demolition and building.

One bad infill house on my street is one too many. The proposed LHD is a more intact area and we want it to stay that way.

Joseph said...

If you read the vast number of studies on this very blog especially the months of June, July & August you will see that LHD does a fabulous job of maintaining diversity and does a fabulous job of maintaining "affordable" housing. Homes that are out of scale with the neighborhood jeopardize the value of the smaller homes and could actually make the poor even poorer.

What am I really trying to protect with LHD? The unique historic character of my neighborhood. I am also working to maintain the economic, social and community diversity and preserve the value of my neighbor's most important asset - their home. I am getting a bit worn out with people telling me and telling my neighbors that I am out for another purpose.

bait taker said...

Amen Joseph!!!

Kindred said...

"You fail to point out that we currently live in a demographically diverse neighborhood now and are not starting from a point of no diversity unlike the homes discussed in your post."

The studies discussed are actually based on diverse neighborhoods such as ours that are being gentrified. The ones within the local historic district did a better job of preserving diversity of not only race but of socio economic status than those without a local historic district.

There are additional studies that show that most new construction in an older neighborhood attracts a less diverse buyer than same size renovated homes in an area. All of this without any negative impact on property values.

I understand there is propaganda that is creating this confusion but the accusation that the supporters of LHD are looking to exclude a particular race or socio economic group from the neighborhood is not the reality.