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The Residential Infill Project's Special Rules For Historic Districts

We recently posted a link to a detailed handout on the Residential Infill Project (RIP) proposed changes to Laurelhurst. If you opened the handout, you read this:

Special Requirements For Listed/Contributing Historic Properties • In overlay zone, allow 3-4 units/lot via ADUs/duplex/triplex. Historic properties to

be converted, not demolished. In conversion, may change <50% of exterior, add <800 sf, increase footprint <100%. Parking not required. 1 unit must be visitable.

What does this mean? Here's the explanation.

Applies to listed or contributing historic properties.

A historic house - meaning, one that is individually listed as a Historic Landmark or that is a "contributing" building in a Historic District - is not subject to the regular provisions of RIP, concerning duplexes and triplexes. Instead it is subject to the special RIP rules for historic properties.

Special RIP rules for historic properties.

A historic house can still be made into a duplex plus ADUs, or a triplex, BUT it cannot be "demolished" do do this. It has to be "converted".

What is a "conversion".

The conversion cannot add a story, cannot replace more than 50% of exterior wall, cannot add more than 800 square feet, and cannot increase the house's footprint by more than 100%.

Parking will not be required. If the property has 4 or more units, one unit must be "visitable" (basically means accessible from ground level).

These rules are, we think, not good enough. They would, for example, allow the whole front of a house to be removed. However, requiring conversion instead of demolition is a good start. It is signficant protection. Added to the other protections under the city's Historic Code, this means that even under RIP, most Laurelhurst houses will be protected from demolition, if we are a historic district.

Again: these protections will only apply if Laurelhurst becomes a Historic District.


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