A Fresh Look at Historic Districts

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Preservation NC's 2009 Annual Conference
Session 3.4-4.4 A Fresh Look at Historic Districts
In this two-part charrette-style workshop, historic commission members, historic district residents and others are invited to discuss and analyze a proposal for a new, less restrictive historic overlay district. The goal is to retain key elements of historic properties while accommodating factors such as eclectic architectural styles, growth and development pressures, and the needs of early 20th century neighborhoods.

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  • Orange dot indicates a teardown site (demolition and construction permits pulled for same address within six months). Total citywide is 656. This is a conservative estimate and does not include sites where houses were torn down and not immediately rebuilt or sites where total guts or significantly altering additions were built (pop-tops).
  • A resident displayed this homemade sign (reading “Does this spec house fit in this neighborhood?”) in their yard next to a teardown under construction on the lot next door. The sign also included the builder’s name and phone number (whited out in this photo).
  • HOD2 has been discussed in Raleigh for several years. Raleigh has a Neighborhood Conservation Overlay District ordinance, but it functions solely to regulate dimensional elements and does not include any design review or demolition delay.
  • formbasedcodes.org newcodedenver.org
  • Using the Raleigh LHOD Guidelines, we will look at an example neighborhood (early 20 th c. eclectic streetcar suburb). The following slides present elements of the case study. http://presnc.org/dropbox/elizabeth/AFreshLookAtHistoricDistricts-Case.doc
  • Neighborhood includes several architectural styles: colonial revival, tudor cottage, foursquare, bungalow, modern infill.
  • Birdseye plan reveals that the neighborhood contains alleys with garages and accessory structures oriented onto the alley.
  • A Fresh Look at Historic Districts

    1. 1. 3.4 - 4.4 A Fresh Look at Historic Districts Developing Standards for Heritage Conservation Districts Myrick Howard , Preservation North Carolina Peter Sandbeck , NC State Office of Historic Preservation Elizabeth Sappenfield , Preservation NC and National Trust for Historic Preservation
    2. 2. Trends in Districting <ul><li>97 local historic districts </li></ul><ul><li>103 commissions </li></ul><ul><li>496 National Register districts </li></ul>Data in this and following slides provided by the NC State Historic Preservation Office.
    3. 5. LHOD by designation date Partial list – not all data available.
    4. 6. Neighborhoods without Local Districts <ul><li>What we’re seeing in Raleigh </li></ul><ul><li>Early 20 th c. Eclectic </li></ul><ul><li>Prosperous early suburbs </li></ul><ul><li>High property (land) value </li></ul><ul><li>Subject to teardowns </li></ul><ul><li>National Register </li></ul><ul><li>In need of protection </li></ul>Vanguard Park Michael Zirkle Photography, courtesy of RHDC Glenwood-Brooklyn
    5. 7. Infill in National Register districts 2002-2007
    6. 8. Why aren’t they using LHOD <ul><li>Property rights objection Don’t tell me what to do. </li></ul><ul><li>Strictness of regulation Paint color?!? </li></ul><ul><li>Negative public perception Hysterical society </li></ul><ul><li>Lack of municipal support We don’t have the staff right now. </li></ul>Michael Zirkle Photography, courtesy of RHDC Cameron Park Hayes Barton Michael Zirkle Photography, courtesy of RHDC
    7. 9. What do these neighborhoods need? <ul><li>Respite from teardowns </li></ul><ul><li>Relief from skyrocketing land values </li></ul><ul><li>Better match between zoning and built form </li></ul><ul><li>Protection for scale and context </li></ul>
    8. 10. The HOD2 Concept <ul><li>Based on existing local historic overlay district </li></ul><ul><li>Regulate only most significant elements – not the fine grain details </li></ul><ul><li>Focuses on scale, rhythm, coverage, proportion </li></ul><ul><li>Regulate only what’s visible from the street – not the back yard </li></ul>
    9. 11. Administration <ul><li>Use the existing HOD structure – edit the major/minor work matrix </li></ul><ul><li>Remove detail elements from the review list </li></ul><ul><li>Use staff to handle most approvals </li></ul>
    10. 12. Major / Minor Work Minor Work Major Work Paint – previously unpainted element Example of Proposed Current Matrix No review Minor Work Paint – previously painted element If not visible from ROW, no review. If visible, Major Work. Major Work Decks – max height > 42” If not visible from ROW, no review. If visible, Minor Work. Minor Work – Staff review Decks – max height < 42” If not visible from Right Of Way, no review. If visible, Minor Work Minor Work – Staff review Architectural Detail
    11. 13. Form-Based Code <ul><li>Form-based codes foster predictable built results and a high-quality public realm by using physical form (rather than separation of uses) as the organizing principle for the code. </li></ul>Denver, CO Form-Based Code Institute www.formbasedcodes.org
    12. 14. Advantages of Form-Based Code <ul><li>Prescriptive rather than proscriptive </li></ul><ul><li>Encourages public participation </li></ul><ul><li>Regulates at the building lot scale </li></ul><ul><li>Generates diverse built results </li></ul><ul><li>Codifies existing built environment, generating compatible infill </li></ul><ul><li>Accessible for public, user-friendly </li></ul><ul><li>Eliminates need for subjective guidelines </li></ul><ul><li>More clarity leads to better enforcement </li></ul>
    13. 15. Questions?
    14. 16. Case Study <ul><li>Raleigh LHOD Guidelines </li></ul><ul><li>Regulates elements that “contribute to the overall historic character of the building or site.” </li></ul><ul><li>When elements are being repaired or replaced, they must “match the original in design, dimension, detail, texture, pattern, material and color.” </li></ul><ul><li>Case study pdf available online. </li></ul>
    15. 17. Design Elements <ul><li>Site Elements </li></ul><ul><li>Building spacing, setbacks </li></ul><ul><li>Building orientation </li></ul><ul><li>Lot coverage </li></ul><ul><li>Utility structures </li></ul><ul><li>Parking areas </li></ul><ul><li>Walls, fences </li></ul><ul><li>Steps, pavement </li></ul><ul><li>Landscaping, trees </li></ul><ul><li>Lighting </li></ul><ul><li>Building Elements </li></ul><ul><li>Architectural style </li></ul><ul><li>Building height </li></ul><ul><li>Exterior arrangement, proportion </li></ul><ul><li>Size, scale of building </li></ul><ul><li>Roof, shape and material </li></ul><ul><li>Building material </li></ul><ul><li>Color </li></ul><ul><li>Fenestration, openings </li></ul>
    16. 18. Case Study Neighborhood
    17. 19. Case Study Neighborhood

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