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the coronado neighborhood connection

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“What happens if your neighborhood becomes a historic district”.

(reprinted from a document entitled "What happens if your neighborhood becomes a historic district, historic preservation office", phoenix, arizona)

WHAT HAPPENS IF YOUR NEIGHBORHOOD
BECOMES A HISTORIC DISTRICT?

Historic districts in Phoenix are among the most desirable areas to live.  They tend to have a more positive image and stronger sense of community than other city neighborhoods.  Property values also have a tendency to increase at a higher rate than in other areas.  In large part, this is due to the City’s efforts to protect and enhance historic districts and to promote them as unique places to live.   This is what owners can expect to happen if your neighborhood is officially designated as a historic district:

  • For major building/site permits, a special historic design review process applies.   The purpose of this review is to assist property owners to ensure that any proposed alterations, additions or new construction work is compatible with the character of the historic district.   For most permit applications, such as a room addition to an existing residence or a new garage, the plans would be reviewed by the Historic Preservation Officer in a public hearing.  The City is required to hold the hearing within 20 days of the application filing date; signs are posted on the site to notify the public at least 10 days prior to the hearing.  Owners can appeal the decision of the Historic Preservation Officer to the Historic Preservation Commission and City Council.

 

  • For minor exterior building permits and site permits, an expedited historic design review process would apply.  For minor work items, such as plumbing, electrical or mechanical work, the City Building Official typically approves the proposed permit work without any HPO review.  For small construction and addition projects such as new rear porches or small rear enclosures, the HPO could approve the work "over the counter" provided that the project meets city historic preservation design guidelines.
  • Interior work and routine maintenance, such as painting, does not require a permit or special review from the City.  The City Historic Preservation Office (HPO) does not review interior or landscaping work or dictate the exterior colors that buildings are painted.  However, owners should not paint brick that was not originally painted or stucco over brick, concrete block or wood siding. 

 

  • A special demolition permit review typically applies.    Demolition applications for non-historic structures are approved provided that the owner submits an acceptable reuse plan for the site to the City HPO.  For historic buildings, the City issues a "one year stay of demolition."  If a year passes and the City and owner have not agreed on a plan to preserve the building, the owner may proceed with demolition provided he/she submits an acceptable reuse plan for the site.  No lots are permitted to remain vacant.
  • The City does not require an owner to wait a year to demolish a historic building if the owner demonstrates that preserving the structure will result in a legitimate economic hardship.  The one-year waiting period may also be waived in cases involving imminent hazards to public health, safety and welfare.

  • Property owners are not required to open their homes to the public. 

 

  • If residential property owners wish to make improvements, they may apply for up to $10,000 in matching grants from the City Historic Preservation Office.  The grant can help pay for needed exterior rehabilitation or structural work that is consistent with the historic character of the house. Owners with low to moderate incomes may receive up to $25,000 in matching grants, with the City paying a higher percentage of the match.  In exchange for the grant funds, the owner agrees to preserve the property for 15 years after the work is completed. 
  • Owners of multi-family residential units may apply for matching "demonstration project" grants from the City Historic Preservation Office up to a negotiated amount for exterior improvements.  The grant helps pay for needed exterior rehabilitation or structural work that is consistent with the historic character of the building(s).  This funding can also cover ADA access and some architectural and engineering expenses.  In exchange for the grant funds, the owner agrees to preserve the property for at least 15 years after the work is completed. 

 

  • Once the district is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, historic properties are eligible for a property tax reduction.  Historic houses that are owner-occupied and classified as contributors to the historic character of the district would be eligible for a property tax reduction.  Qualifying properties would have taxes assessed at half the normal rate; the reduction lasts for up to 30 years.  This typically reduces property taxes by up to 45 percent annually.
  • Owners of income-producing properties listed on the National Register of Historic Places, such as commercial buildings and multi-family residences, who rehabilitate their structures will be eligible to receive a property tax freeze for up to 10 years once the work is completed.  They may also receive an income tax credit that is equal to 20 percent of the total cost of rehabilitation.

 

  • The City of Phoenix Historic Preservation Office makes a special effort to promote the unique history and architecture of the district.  New blue historic district street signs are installed at every intersection within the historic district so that residents and visitors will know the area has received special designation.  HPO staff is available to attend neighborhood meetings, make presentations and attend other events to provide information about the historic preservation program.
    • Brochures are published to highlight the history and architecture of the districts, including a walking/driving tour of key locations in the neighborhood.  Staff will also investigate the possibility of installing plaques or other interpretive displays in appropriate locations in the neighborhood. 
 
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