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.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Economic Power of Restoration

Here is a link to a very interesting article entitled “The Economic Power of Restoration” http://www.wisconsinhistory.org/hp/smartgrowth/economic_power_of_restoration.pdf.

A good bit of the article does not apply to the subject of local historic district. Pages 5,6 & 7 are the most useful. I follow with a few quotes from the article.

“The overwhelming majority of what we call “historic properties” have no international, in most cases not even national importance. But they have a local importance to the people who live there. Both economic development and historic preservation are essentially local in the United States…”

“Related to the issue of neighborhood stability is neighborhood diversity. America is a diverse country, ethnically, racially, economically. From a political perspective there’s not much unanimity in the U.S. regarding overall urban policy. But I think there is rather widespread agreement on one issue – our cities would be healthier if we had diverse urban districts – that no one particularly benefits from neighborhoods that are all rich or all poor; all white or all black. And while for over thirty years we have had laws prohibiting discrimination based on race or religion, while anyone with the money to buy can live wherever they choose, our neighborhoods as a whole are not diverse.”

“Let me give you an example. Philadelphia, one of America’s oldest cities, has a population of one and a half million people. It’s about 53% white, 40% black and the balance Asian and Other. But when the census is taken Block Groups are identified. A block group is small – in Philadelphia only eight or nine hundred people in each one. There are about 1,750 Block Groups in Philadelphia. While the city as a whole is certainly diverse, the Block Groups are not. In a recent analysis we said that to meet the test of a diverse neighborhood, the Block Group had to be less than 80% white and less than 80% black, that is no extreme concentration of any race.Barely one Block Group in five met that test. 79% Philadelphia small neighborhood clusters were effectively all white or all black. Not so in the National Register Historic Districts, however. In the 106 Block Groups within historic districts nearly half met the diversity test – people of all races living together because of the appeal of the historic neighborhood. These were not all high-income areas, by the way. The income distribution in Philadelphia’s historic districts mirrors the income of the city as a whole. There is housing available in historic neighborhoods to accommodate a wide range of income levels.”


EAR said...

Oakhurst does have a great cultural diversity. Unfortunately, the more it improves in real estate value the more the cultural/financial diversity decline. We need to preserve the history as well as the diversity. The proposed LHD will make it even more difficult for our elderly and financially challenged to remain here.

The requirement for a Certificate of Appropriateness forces people to design better quality houses within a frame work of conformity. Why can't we all just design better houses and retain diversity? Hire a professional instead of reaching for the plan book. Architects are trained to decide what is appropriate. The outlook for builders is rather grim right now. Many are sitting on lots of inventory or going bankrupt. Only 2 high end houses have sold here in the last 6 months. Our property values will take a hit. Construction of new spec houses is slowing down, but more home owners are renovating or building new. This is the time to make a difference and spend a nickel on the design. Hire a professional and make an example. Maybe you'll be on the tour of homes next?

Anonymous said...

This sounds like a great article that should be sent around the community.

Ear...I'm sure you mean well thinking that an LHD will push the elderly and financially challenged out, but since the majority of the elderly have no reason or plans to do major renovations to their home (either no need for a larger home or not having the funds to take on a major renovation) I don't think it is fair to say the LHD will affect them. Not to mention, I believe there is a hardship clause if something that needed to be done to their home fell under the HPC guidance and they didn’t have the funds to do it the LHD way.

What will and is pushing out our elderly and financially challenged neighbors: Taxes... well that and often age and health - at a certain point people don't want to or aren't physically able to stay in a house.

Currently all of the information I've seen on the effect of an LHD has on taxes is neutral, but what effect does a $700K house have on the neighborhood? OK maybe one won't do much but what happens when one after another $700K houses go up, and next comes the $1,000,000 home - how will that effect our taxes?

My point is that I don't think the LHD is our elderly and financially challenged neighbor’s problem issue. Taxes are. And as concerned as everyone seems to be about our elderly and or cash poor neighbors, you would think we as a community would do something about the taxes - but no one does. Instead we just use the elderly and poor as our flag ship on why an LHD is bad and we’ll use them again on the next topic that has 2 viewpoints that comes up in the community. And we'll keep on doing it until they are with us no more. And then will move on to using our children as our new flag ship...

So if we are unsuccessful with the LHD making it to fruition, will the poor and elderly stay a day or 2 longer in Oakhurst? I'm afraid not.

hold on a minute anonymous ... said...

I'm really shocked and outraged by the latest comment by anonymous (who, based on their comments, is probably one of the LHD nominators).

since the majority of the elderly have no reason or plans to do major renovations to their home (either no need for a larger home or not having the funds to take on a major renovation) I don't think it is fair to say the LHD will affect them.

Do you not think that some of our elderly neighbors plan to pass their homes on to their children when they die or can no longer take care of themselves? Maybe they want their children to have the option of living in a nice, well located neighborhood, but they want to fix it up to meet the needs of a modern family. No, they probably won't be wealthy, but they might have the means to do some renovations. They'll have to get a COA won't they? Or will they decide it isn't worth it and just sell the house and move to the suburbs, where they can get a lot of house for cheap, therefore, making our neighborhood a less diverse place.

This isn't something that might happen way off into the future. Our Oakhurst elderly are well into their late 70's and 80's.

Something to think about.

Anonymous said...

Hi Hold on a minute,

Your sinario isn't happening now why would it happen in the future? If you are poor you are poor and can't afford to renovate. I have been poor before while owning a bungalow. I could hardly keep paint on the outside. I wasn't able to do an addition, a roof line change or even install A/C. Poor people don't make material changes to the outside of their house. This takes money which poor people don't have.

The bad, bad Anonymous said...

Sure, maybe the elderly and poor plan to give their homes to their loved ones. If the children of the poor or elderly take over their family home and have the money to spend on renovations, then they are able to do so. If they are going to make a material change to the house which is viewed from the right of way then they too, if we get LHD, can go through the same process to get a COA. There is a good chance that the home will be mostly paid off and the new family owner will have the oppertunity to do renovations. Of course if the previous home owner has decided to delay paying their taxes until they sell their home or pass on there could be a lot of back taxes to pay - if that is the case the new family owner could have their hands full - just paying back taxes. I noticed you didn't even touch the tax issue. My guess: taxes are more likely to keep generations of families staying here - not LHD.

And no I am not one of the nominating committee. As you, I'm not brave enough to have my name out in blog land, unlike the nominating committee and the facilitators of this Blog.

Though there was nothing wrong with my previous comments, it is amazing how people will try to slander anyone who doesn't fall into their way of thinking.

Your shock and outrage button is very, very, very sensitive.

bad, bad anonymous said...

To corrections

I incorrectly spelled OPPORTUNITY (and probably many other words)
More importantly I meant to say the following:

My guess: taxes are more likely to keep generations of families FROM NOT staying here IN DECATUR - not LHD.