Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Historical value

A couple of weeks ago, I got a flier in my door saying that there was a group of neighbors concerned about the plans to demolish a house on the next block and build a large house that was in a different style than the existing houses in the area.

I live in the old part of town, and the houses are all about 100 years old. My little house, as I think I've mentioned before is nothing special architectural-wise. The first flier asked if I would attend a meeting of the city department that hears people's concerns when their neighbors are potentially changing the character of a group of older houses.

This has been an interesting thing for me to share with Mr W, as I don't know how I feel about it. The neighbor who is organizing the effort clearly does not want the existing plans to proceed. I received a second flyer in my box a couple of days ago saying that she wants to explore the possibility of seeking "historical neighborhood district" status for the two blocks that would include this proposed project (and my house too).

When the flier mentioned that we would be meeting as well to discuss "compromises with the new owners" over the property, I felt more conflicted. The words "reasonable design compromise" were used.

I don't know. On the one hand, the immediate neighbors certainly have cause to complain if their views will be blocked, or their house shaded, or their houses' foundations potentially compromised as a result of the work done on this new house. I think that building houses out to the very edges of the property line is an un-neighborly thing to do.

On the other hand, if someone builds a (I'm guessing) $500,000 house, that's not going to negatively impact my property values. I can't see the house from my house, though, so I don't have a horse in this race to the extent that the neighbor who is organizing does.

The historical neighborhood designation seems like too much control for me. People who live in this part of town like old houses to begin with. Putting restrictions on what people can do seems like it might be overreaching.

The meeting is tomorrow night, and I'm thinking of taking Mr W so he can see this kind of neighborhood thing in action. Stay tuned.

1 comment:

  1. Sensible people look at both sides of a coin. It's just that it's sometimes hard to be sensible when emotions get involved! Most of the time I think it's so sad that we don't seem to value anything that's "old" whether that be buildings or humans.


Hi, sorry to make the humans do an extra step.