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'Edge' development in historic districts

  • 1.  'Edge' development in historic districts

    Posted 06-11-2018 14:44
    Hello everyone-  I am wondering if anyone has experience with applying guidelines to proposed 'edge' development? I am hearing some experienced preservationists suggesting guidelines should be relaxed with regards to height and mass when a developer wants to build within a district but at its boundary.  Anyone have thoughts or direct experience with this?  Thanks in advance for your input.  Nancy Kotting

    Nancy Kotting,
    Historic Preservation Advocate
    German Village Society
    Columbus OH

  • 2.  RE: 'Edge' development in historic districts

    Posted 06-12-2018 08:40
    I think this is a very valid idea, but definitely needs to have an established purpose for why regulating the context area is warranted outside of the district.  Fortunately when the St. Augustine code was written one of our districts has the provision where the design review board has authority to review projects abutting/facing that historic district.  It is measured by 'reasonable compatibility' and in practice we do not apply the strictest design guidelines.

    Jenny Wolfe
    Historic Preservation Officer
    City of St. Augustine
    St. Augustine FL

  • 3.  RE: 'Edge' development in historic districts

    Posted 06-12-2018 17:29
    Thank you Jenny- very helpful to know how St. Augustine approaches development immediately outside of district boundaries. I appreciate you responding. N

    Nancy Kotting
    German Village Society
    Columbus OH

  • 4.  RE: 'Edge' development in historic districts

    Posted 06-12-2018 21:37

    In Fort Collins we look at any new development that is within 200 feet (half a block) of a historic resource (which includes historic district boundaries). Historic resources don't have to be landmarked, they just have to be considered eligible for landmarking. (And our survey program is pretty thin right now, so eligibility is non-binding and determined either by staff or by the LPC chair and the Community Development Neighborhood Services director.)

    We have a couple of examples of edge development that are outside our downtown historic district, but either directly abutting or nearly so. The historic buildings closest to these new structures are 1- and 2-stories. The new buildings are 4- and 5- stories. But through the use of stepbacks and material changes, they have been pretty successfully added to downtown. 

    Within the district (even at the edge) the heights need to be more closely aligned with the historic structures. 

    The Bohemian building was added in

    Meg Dunn
    Fort Collins CO

  • 5.  RE: 'Edge' development in historic districts

    Posted 06-13-2018 17:27
    If I understand the question, it is if standards inside but on the edge of a district should be relaxed to transition to what is being built outside.  I'd not relax inside the district because the historic resources  are always so limited.  Rather I'd work on convincing the developer of the property outside how much they would benefit from using or getting close to the historic district standards to adapt their development in order to fit in with the historic character inside the district.

    Duffie Westheimer
    Flagstaff Townsite Historic Properties Community Land Trust (Townsite CLT/TCLT)
    Board Member/Director
    Flagstaff, AZ

  • 6.  RE: 'Edge' development in historic districts

    Posted 06-17-2018 14:32
    Hi, Nancy.

    In theory design guidelines could be adopted for a district where a commission believes it is important to allow larger edge development within district boundaries. The guidelines could describe how that larger development would be considered compatible with the district, including the locations best suited for larger development.

    Although not exactly the same situation, the St. Anthony Falls Historic District in Minneapolis has design guidelines that set up several "character areas." Each area has sub-guidelines that are specific to the character of that part of the district. They specifically describe where taller development may occur. Development pressure in the area means that the commission is sometimes overruled, of course, but the concept of treating different areas within a single district is a valid one if it can be codified through adoption of guidelines that allow it.


    Barbara Howard
    Stonebridge Learning, LLC
    Minneapolis MN

  • 7.  RE: 'Edge' development in historic districts

    Posted 06-19-2018 08:11

    We bought a contributing member house (1910) in the National Register Court Chemeketa Residential District in Salem, Oregon in May 2017. It is on an edge of the National Register District.

    #25 Henry Kloepping House (1909) [Primary (Contributing)] 1566 Court Street, NE; Assessor's Map 26BD 7-3W; Tax Lot 55432-000 Owners: Robert and Helen Moore, 1566 Court Street, NE, Salem, OR 9-7301 Description: The Kloepping House is a Craftsman Bungalow with three frontfacing gables: the main roof, the front porch, and a small gable roof over a front-facing oriel window. In addition, there is a side-facing gable on the west. The house has false bevelled drop siding below the belt course and stucco with half-timbered detailing above the belt in each of the gables. The front steps originally extended across the full width of the recessed, single-bay porch but have been modified to about half that width. Interior changes have been made since 1975, and a modern addition was added to the back of the house in 1984-85. Cultural Data: The Kloepping family purchased the property on which this house stands in 1908, and H. H. Kloepping built the house at a cost of $3000 in 1909 (Oregon Statesman, Jan. 1, 1910, section 4). The City Directory for 1909-10 lists Johanna Kloepping (the widow of Fred Kloepping) and H. H. Kloepping, a student, residing here. Henry Kloepping later became a Deputy Clerk with the Oregon Supreme Court, and he and his wife, Laura, lived in the house for many years. It remained in the Kloepping family until 1963. Since 1975, the house has been owned and occupied by Robert Moore, Salem city manager in the 1970' taken: unknown.  House was built in 1910.

    One of the reasons we purchased this house was that we were laboring under the belief that by being in a National Register District, we'd enjoy a certain amount of protection from development and continuity of the aesthetic surroundings.  My wife and I have been strong supporters of preserving historic resources and can attest that it is a constant effort which can be exhausting.

    We were wrong.

    We learned after closing escrow that there is slated across the back alley from us a rezoning plan by the City of Salem which effectively encourages 55' high multifamily development.  We currently have across our alley a 20' foot high Travel Lodge-like motel which represents the highest and most effective of use of the property under it Commercial Zoning classification -- we figured we could live with that.  Through the use of the 3D modeling program, Sketchup, I've determined that the building envelope for a 55' high structure will appear as if it is about 44' high wall at the property line with the attendant setbacks and stepbacks.  The City maintains that by having some 10' stepbacks and setbacks, they have mitigated the impacts. (The zoning project was funded by federal Department of Transportation dollars and everyone says no 106 Review applies; I disagree and will leave that discussion for another topic.)

    This topic of edge development could not be more timely.  I am replying to this topic because I would like to encourage others who are familiar with their local zoning laws and land use policies that address "edge development" vis-a-vis a national register district to contribute here by way of reply.  It has been very helpful and extremely convenient to have participants share in this forum links to their zoning code and plans which addresses this very topic as researching this area is very time consuming.  Just knowing that your city is aware of this issue and addresses it somehow is information otherwise not readily available.

    Please contribute to this topic by sharing a quick synopsis of what your local government has provided to address impacts of edge development on historic districts, if at all.  It really does help and makes forums such as these invaluable reference material, otherwise researching this area is like trying to find a needle in a haystack despite the wonders of Internet search engines.

    Lastly, New York City seems to be on the forefront on this emerging topic having to deal with the fact that the success of preserving neighborhoods is now acting as a draw to development which hopes to capitalize on the benefits of historic preservation by building multifamily high rise development.  Wouldn't you rather live next to an historic district than a scrape yard?

    Thank you.

    John Poole
    Salem OR