Five Benefits of Historic Designation !
This summer I have been taking a class on Historic Designation and Vintage homes at the local junior college in Santa Rosa, California. I have learned about numerous aspects of the process for obtaining designation as a Historic Preservation District. The class project, in fact, is a survey of the junior college district housing stock to establish the basis for historic designation. The process centers on cataloging houses in the neighborhood with special historic and architectural features.
The general purpose of historic designation is straightforward: namely, to preserve the special historic and architectural character of the neighborhood. The rules and regulations that accompany Historic Designation require approval by a local board or commission to assure that new construction and exterior renovations within the district are consistent with its historic, cultural and architectural character. But Historic designation has other benefits to neighbors and home owners as well.
As outlined in one of Mark Perry's (course instructor) handouts these include:
1. Housing Rehabilitation Assistance.
Grants and loans for Housing Rehabilitation may be available from housing agencies depending on funding and whether the project meets program requirements.
2. Enhanced Property Values
Historic designation frequently leads to increases in property values as a result of improvements to the houses encouraged by the review process as well as the assurance that the neighborhood will retain its character and quality.
3. Federal Income Tax Credits
Income Properties, which may need rehabilitation, could receive tax credits from the federal government.
4. State Historic Building Code
Usage of The State Historic Building Code provides more flexibility for renovating and upgrading homes within designated historic districts than The Uniform Building Code, which would otherwise apply.
5. Protection of the Neighborhood
There are more stringent controls on new construction and restricting or prohibiting demolition in a historic district which keeps the character of the neighborhood intact.
I owe a debt of gratitude to the people that have organized the project and have done their best to acquaint us with the vocabulary needed for precise description for architectural styles. The two architect's, Mark Perry and Mark DeBacker share the classroom teaching duties and accompanied us on part of the survey. Susan Scott, authored the Survey Resource Book, which gives a glossary of relevant terms and photo examples of different homes and their distinction. Jay Longfellow, who gathers all the inforrmation and inputs it into the correct form for City Council action.
Thank you all for your patience and time. I have learned so much.