a local historic district?
" Local historic districts are areas in which
historic buildings and their settings are protected by public review.
Historic district ordinances are local laws that are adopted by
communities using powers granted by the state. Historic districts
comprise the city's significant historic and architectural resources.
Inclusion in a historic district signifies that a property contributes
to an ensemble that is worth protecting by virtue of its historic
importance or architectural quality…"
City of Cambridge, Massachusetts.
Beyond a general description, it’s best to
go directly to the source—the local governments and communities
that create and care for historic districts. Although there are
many legal and administrative similarities to historic districts,
at the heart of it, each historic district defines itself differently—and
should! Each district across
the country has a special story and unique personality. Consider
In Seattle, Washington, Pike’s Place Market Historical
District was rescued from an urban renewal project in 1971
and subsequently listed as both a local and National Register Historic
“Today, it is a healthy, bustling community
of merchants and residents.”
Raleigh, North Carolina designated Oakwood
as its first “local historic district” in 1975
to ensure the long-term protection of this diverse collection of 19th and early 20th century residences. As part of the local historic district designation, the design of all proposed exterior change is reviewed by the Raleigh Historic
San Diego, California, the Gaslamp Quarter Historic District
retains the unique turn of the century architectural character of
the area, encouraging pedestrian-oriented uses, such as shops, restaurants,
galleries, street vendors, and cultural facilities. Preserving the
richness of the past and providing continuity with current and future
development are dual planning goals of the local historic district.
It is also listed in the National Register of Historic Places.
Why local design review?
Many towns, cities, and counties nationwide have already said “yes”
to local historic district designation. More than 2,300 districts have historic preservation commissions that conduct design review and many such commissions work with multiple districts in their local jurisdictions! Why are the number of historic districts growing yearly? Residents know that their historic districts are far more than attractive places for tourists to visit, shop, and perhaps have lunch. Residents know that one of the best ways to keep the look and feel of the place they call "home" is through a local design review process.
This is the National Register definition: "A district
possesses a significant concentration, linkage, or continuity of sites,
buildings, structures, or objects united historically or aesthetically
by plan or physical development.". (How to Apply the National
Register Criteria for Evaluation, p. 5)
NOTE: Print all of Section 'a' in PDF format.
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