Friday, March 18, 2016

Historic Preservation Education: posted feedback from the Wed, 03-16-2016, Eckington Civic Association Historic District Designation Town Hall #2

See this post at the Eckington list at Google Groups regarding the Wednesday, 03-16-2016, Eckington Civic Association Historic District Designation Town Hall #2.

Do you agree with this statement: "I think DCRA's rules are sufficient to preserve our beautiful neighborhood without giving individual taste the force of law."


historic district town hall: audio & the new concerns it raised
Mar 17 09:04PM -0700

I wanted to share audio of last night's historic district town hall (hosted
by the Eckington Civic Association) for those who couldn't make it.

I admit I went in as a skeptic, having watched with sadness as friends,
family and colleagues struggle to afford housing in the San Francisco area,
a region that has strangled itself with well-meaning but ultimately harmful
preservationist regulation.

But I'm lucky to have been able to buy a home in Eckington, and didn't
expect the push for historic designation to affect me much. So I was
surprised to hear this from an invited homeowner from an established
historic district:

> If I could weigh in on something about that. We have a beautiful Victorian
house on my street as well, and they put a deck on the second floor on the
side. It's not in the rear so you can see it when you're driving up the
street. You're not supposed to see that addition, like Karen was saying,
and it was put on there with no permit. So now the deck -- as wood does it
warps and it needs to be repaired, so when they went to repair it [snaps]
we got 'em. [laughter]

Because it doesn't belong there in the beginning, they never had a permit,
it looks atrocious, what they built -- it should have never been there. But
now we can correct [it]. They had a permit with the pop-up, that was
permitted, so you probably can't do anything. But if it's not permitted and
it doesn't look right, we gotcha.
Obviously this example is complicated by the original work potentially not
being permitted. But I think it shows an eagerness to force aesthetic
preferences on neighbors that leaves me very uncomfortable. I would be
upset if I was prevented from repairing my home. Working to preserve
historic buildings is understandable; creating a vehicle for forcing
preferences on your neighbors is very different. I think DCRA's rules are
sufficient to preserve our beautiful neighborhood without giving individual
taste the force of law.

I was also disappointed in the lack of an answer to my concerns about
affordability (the voice asking followups here is my own). If we as a
community decide to pay the costs of the review process and impose them on
future residents, that's fine. But we need to acknowledge that they are

I'd like to encourage everyone to engage with this process. Last night's
presentation did not include any skeptical voices, and it seems clear that
the historical designation process favors enactment by default without
requiring community involvement. This proposal deserves a complete hearing
from the community before the Eckington Civic Association submits an
application on our behalf. Please consider attending the next town hall,
and mark your calendar for the meeting on June 6 when this measure will
receive a vote.

Tom Lee


Bloomingdale Resident said...

Anyone reading this post should read another post with a response by Kim Williams (Office of Planning) to some questions raised after the Town Hall.

I would like to share my reaction, as someone who has attended both Town Halls, that there have been many "skeptical voices" in attendance. In fact, it seemed almost every question posed at the first Town Hall challenged some element of Historic District designation.

Eckington Civic Association will host a third Town Hall in May.

nobodyhomehere said...

This seems useful to review, the do's and don't's for people living in the Capitol Hill Historic District.