What A Historic District Will Mean For Laurelhurst - Part 2

In Part 1, we saw that in a Laurelhurst National Register Historic District:

  • Contributing houses will be protected by demolition review

  • There will be no design review of remodeling, new windows, ADUs, or any other changes to a contributing houses short of tearing it down.

  • Contributing houses will be eligible to apply for historic tax credits that apply to rehabilitation of historic buildings.

As a practical matter, what effect will this really have on our neighborhood?

Infill developers will have a much harder time buying Laurelhurst houses, demolishing them, and building McMansions or - if the city adopts the Residential Infill Project re-zoning - quadplex apartment buildings. All the contributing houses, which are about 75% of the neighborhood, will be protected by "demolition review". Demolition review is a difficult process; developers avoid it whenever possible.

Meanwhile, we and our neighbors will be able to do whatever remodeling or changes to our houses that we want, without any sort of historic design review. That means changing windows, building ADUs, adding more space, solar panels, access ramps, etc. There will be no "design review". The normal city building permits will still apply, of course.

More of our historic houses will be sold to young families, instead of to developers. There will be less demolition activity. Fewer healthy mature trees will be cut down. We'll see more ADUs and fewer McMansions. Historic houses that need rehabilitation will be eligible for historic tax benefits that can help. We will have done our part to protect and preserve this historic neighborhood for future generations.

And we will never have to say "yes, I lived in Laurelhurst before it was redeveloped. It used to be a lovely, historic place."

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