A group of about twelve Park Hill residents calling themselves Historic Park Hill (seven of whom do not live in the proposed landmark area) are in the process of attempting to get a Landmark Designation for a portion of Park Hill. Their intended goal is to limit construction projects in the area. While they claim to be targeting ugly remodels done by “outside developers”, they will, in fact, be significantly affecting (in terms of feasibility, aesthetics, cost, and red tape) virtually every exterior project that is performed by anyone in the neighborhood including all homeowners.
Should this designation pass ANY exterior project you wish to do to your home (porches, roof replacement, fences, exterior lighting, additions, pop tops, garages, some aspects of landscaping, windows, carpentry and masonry details, and more – gutters and painting are exceptions) will have to be approved by the Landmark Commission before you will be issued a permit by the city. Your highly detailed and cumbersome proposal will have to be submitted by someone who has been credentialed by the commission and will be reviewed by the commission to see if it corresponds to their guidelines.
Your house will be deemed to be either “contributing” or “non-contributing”. While Historic Park Hill has not indicated what the exact differentiation will be they have been trying to establish the definitional difference to be a matter of whether your home is pre- or post-1945. The guidelines treat the two classifications differently and are more restrictive for “contributing structures” which are the vast majority of the homes in Park Hill.
Once the Commission accepts the application it will go to the City Council for approval. If approved it becomes law.
Reading the guidelines, you will perceive that there will be many projects you will simply not be allowed to do. Pop tops or additions that are visible from the street are limited in scope. (Please see tab on Landmark Guidelines that clearly details prohibitions.) Retaining walls are not permitted. (This is also detailed in Guidelines tabs.) The commission (an unelected 9 person board) will determine if the aesthetic choices you desire meet their criteria and prohibit those which do not.
We are Stop Historic Park Hill. We believe that the situation (economics, lot sizes, zoning setbacks, and more) in Park Hill is not analogous to those of some other neighborhoods that have seen relatively unrestrained construction. While the two sides of this argument are very difficult to support for either side, it is much less difficult to explain the many negative impacts we residents will certainly suffer by living in an area so designated. This designation will negatively affect the character of our neighborhood, the very fabric of who we are and wish to be as neighbors, our pocketbooks, and the continuing saga of our many examples of excellent architectural development.
Please read our arguments and do your own research. If you conclude that Landmark designation is not in your interest please sign our petition and contact Historic Park Hill on their website to indicate your disapproval. You may also write Chris Herndon (our councilman) or volunteer to help us spread the word. Additionally we are selling yard signs which you can use to show your opposition (sorry, unlike Historic Park Hill we are not funded by taxpayer dollars).