What are the benefits to having a Local Historic Property or Local Historic District Designation?
Local Historic Properties and Districts protect the investments of their owners and residents. Buyers know that the aspects that make a particular area attractive will be protected over a period of time. Real estate agents in many cities use historic district status as a marketing tool to sell properties. Additionally, Local Historic Properties and Districts encourage better design. It has been shown through comparative studies that there is a greater sense of relatedness, more innovative use of materials, and greater public appeal within historic districts than in areas without historic designations.
Local Historic Properties and Local Historic Districts also help the environment. Continued and adaptive use of historic buildings reduces resource and material consumption, puts less waste in landfills and consumes less energy than demolishing buildings and constructing new ones. Sustainable Connecticut offers best practices for historic places and their contribution towards promoting the health and well-being of current and future residents while respecting the finite capacity of the natural environment.
How does Historic Properties of Greenwich complement other organizations in town?
HPG is devoting all of its energies to focus upon one aspect of assisting homeowners in protecting their beloved historic properties. By doing this, the Greenwich Historical Society is able to continue to promote the educational aspects of historic preservation and the Greenwich Preservation Trust is able to remain an advocate for stabilizing the Thomas Lyon House. HPG’s efforts support the broad town-wide preservation initiative found in “Protecting Historic and Cultural Resources” in the 2009 Plan of Conservation & Development.
How do I know if my house or neighborhood qualifies to become a Local Historic Property or a Local Historic District?
The Town of Greenwich has four Local Historic Properties and three Local Historic Districts with houses that range from the eighteenth through the twentieth centuries! A broad statement to consider for a Local Historic Property is it consists of a single building or site that represents either an important historical event or architectural style in the community. And for a Local Historic District, it is a contiguous area of buildings and structures that represents either a distinct period of significance in the community’s history or the evolution of the community over time. We would be happy to discuss your home and neighborhood’s unique and significant merits!
I have been told it is less expensive to demolish so why should I protect?
Protecting historic homes represents an extremely efficient use of resources. Having the structural frame or the “skin” of a building in place that can be upgraded or repaired to meet current codes often constitutes a substantial savings when compared with the costs of demolition, transportation of debris to landfills, mining raw materials for manufacture into new building components, transportation to the jobsite and installation. This type of adaptive re-use is not only cost effective and environmentally sustainable, it is also economically responsible to spend money locally on repair and reconstruction rather than on new materials manufactured at distant facilities. By retaining much of the original architectural fabric and historical character of the building, these projects support cultural sustainability as well.
Am I able to make changes with this designation in place?
All exterior changes must be “appropriate” and can include additions, replacing roofing materials and windows, etc. Any changes to the interior are completely up to the homeowner but based of course upon present building code regulations. So the best of both worlds can exist under your historic roof.
Why would a neighborhood want to become a Local Historic District?
Neighborhood character or feel is an important factor in attracting people to neighborhoods. Local designation provides a “tool” to help retain neighborhood character and keep the neighborhood a special and a desirable place to live.