Traveling Through Time: Historic Districts
Traveling Through Time: Historic Districts A visit to Elfreth’s Alley in Philadelphia, or exploring the antebellum homes in New Orleans’ Garden District or Indiana’s Connor Prairie will transport you back in time – but in certain places the past is more than just an attraction; homeowners living within these historic districts experience it daily!
Over 2,300 historic districts across the U.S. are legally protected by federal, state and local laws; these historic district designations protect individual buildings as well as groups of buildings with similar architectural style or historical significance. Many cities also enforce preservation laws which require property owners to get approval from preservation commissions before making changes to historic districts.
Regulations that restrict property can have serious costs for property owners–from additional fees and permits, to strict design guidelines and extra fees. Studies indicate that in most cases these regulations do not reduce home prices. Indeed, research suggests that historic districts actually tend to experience higher home prices and rates of appreciation than comparable neighborhoods without historic district laws.
Historic district laws offer residents a sense of stability. Living in one can offer assurance that their neighborhood won’t become an ugly mall or be overwhelmed by overbearing McMansions; yet some homeowners continue to fight them off despite all their benefits. On this episode of The Landmarks Minute we look at why some individuals may oppose historic districts while we also discuss why some may find them attractive and what the benefits truly are.