Quick List: Downsides to Historic Designation for Bloomingdale

Downsides to Historic Designation

  • Homeowners lose freedom to modify their homes to fit their family’s needs or match their personal taste.
  • Homeowners will face higher costs in the form of more expensive allowable materials, higher architect fees, and extra time needed to prepare for and receive approvals
  • Limitations on owners attempting to save money and reduce their carbon footprint by installing solar panels – if they are visible from the street they may not be approved.
  • All of these added expenses would be particularly harmful to low-income neighbors who may already be feeling the pressure of rising property taxes and other costs in our neighborhood.
  • There is risk that rents could be impacted upwards as well if landlords pass-on the added costs to tenants.

Concerns About the Process of this Application

  • The application was filed before a survey could be administered to gauge community input. As such, there is no current information on whether the neighborhood at large supports this designation, or even if they know about it at all.
  • A survey is only now being sent to the community, but the rushed timeline means it will only be in homes for a couple weeks over the holidays before the deadline to return it.
  • The survey only contains a yes or no “do you support historic designation” box and the url of a site with information in favor of designation. It does not provide a summary of the arguments on both sides.
  • Because of those two elements, neighbors who may not even have been aware this is happening will have very little time to receive the survey, search for information to develop an informed opinion, and cast their vote.
  • The survey is not going to all ~6,000 residents this change will affect, but just the ~2,000-3,000 property owners in the neighborhood.

Extra Context

  • Even without designation, the community will continue to have the ability to nominate individual buildings of particular historic or architectural significance for protection.
  • Changes to zoning commission policy in 2015 already curtailed the ability for property owners to add “pop-ups” in rowhouse neighborhoods including Bloomingdale. Ie, some of the egregious offenders many are concerned about are already restricted.

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