If you live in a neighborhood you love, and you worry about monster houses taking over, you should know what’s happening over on Park Street.
Dee Amick has filed for Landmark District Designation on behalf of her entire block. And while the application goes through its process, nobody builds anything.
That’s darn inconvenient for the new owner of 223 Park Street, who wants to scrape the tiny 1925 vernacular that’s there now and erect something a little more roomy.
Amick worries that means a 40-foot-tall 2 1/2 story new-old house, in a neighborhood where most houses stand 20 feet.
In her application, she says ”small practical houses” characterize the neighborhood and its working class roots. So, historic district designation could mandate that new construction also follow compatible guidelines.
To date, no Old Town neighborhoods seem to have been assigned Landmark District Designation, and I’m not sure if any others have even applied. (I only did a quick search on that fact.)
There is still a lot left to do, starting with a plea she plans to make to City Council tonight. Should be live on Channel 14 between 5:30 and 6:30pm. Watch on TV, or show up in person and let council know you care about this sort of thing.
My neighbor (the one with the dachsunds) has toyed with the idea of getting our street designated as a historic block. With the exception of our kitchen, none of the houses on our part of the block have been altered on the outside at all. Well, maybe some porches have been framed in. But I think that’s it.
She’s never actually gotten around to doing it, though. I wonder what you have to do to get the designation.
I talked to your neighbor a couple days ago. She only has one dachshund now, sadly. She’s constructing a memorial garden out front I hope to donate some Desert 4 O’Clock.
The process looked extensive, from what Dee showed me. Sounds like the biggest barrier is getting the majority of neighbors to agree to whatever constraints the Landmark District puts on your property rights.
In the end, she said, City Council has to approve it.
Karen McWilliams, the city historic preservation specialist can give you all the details about obtaining the designation. The landmark designation will indeed restrict your property rights. I’m told that any alterations could be regulated, even painting the exterior.
Our neighbor adopted a new pooch on Sunday. Watch for a long nosed fellow with the same reddish brown coat that the last one had, only this guy has a white streak down his nose and some odd ball white spot sort of things on his side. (They’re really more like un-spots.) I’ve never seen a dachshund marked like this one is. He’s still really shy yet (like his predecessor).
I wish there was a way that developers could be stopped from building things in Old Town. When new folks come to town and want to build a new house, that’s one thing. But the developers have no care for how something fits in and they deliberately put houses that are too large for the property in the lot because it’ll mean more in their pocket in the end. They’re single handedly mottling up the neighborhood. Home owners coming in and building might not do a whole lot better, but at least as they design their house they’ll have the sense that they’re going to be stuck in it for awhile, and in the neighborhood it’s in. And they *might* try to make the house fit the neighborhood a little more because of that. I don’t know that a developer would ever take that into consideration. They try to find a plan that will be vaguely old fashioned looking and go with it. They’re definitely not in it for the long hall so what do they care?
I’d like to see neighborhoods preserved — the character, if not the buildings. There are plenty of other places to build.
For that matter, I’d like to see all visible buildings removed from the front slope of the foothills.
Maybe you all should push for a new status that would restrict height/square footage without restricting remodeling, maintenance, etc. I personally would refuse to buy a house in a neighborhood that tells me what colors I can paint my house. (Lived in a condo like that once, and I hated it!) But I would love to buy into a neighborhood where I know that the folks across the street aren’t going to add a second story or tear down the bungalow and build a McMansion.
Reading the Coloradoan this morning and the responses there thus far, it’s interesting to me how the comment responses vary between the two. I do tend to side with the responses there.
Someone there posted: “Everybody wants the limits on their neighbor but doesn’t want to pay for or have HOA arch control on them. ” I can’t find fault with that statement.
Colorebel, thanks for bringing up today’s Coloradoan article. I’d link to it, but they always expire after a few weeks and I end up with a broken link…
Believe it or not, I don’t disagree with you entirely. I am a big believer of “social pressure” rather than legal pressure. And I think Dee has succeeded in applying a good deal of it. Her neighbor has heard her loud and clear.
As for the legal side, I’m not sure how much success she’ll have. Even so, she’ll be a force to watch. She reminded me a lot of Betty Aragon, the activist in the Tres Colonias who regularly thwarts the Bohemian Foundation and New Belgium Brewery.
Dee=Betty? I guess we’ll see. At least one difference is that Betty’s lived in Fort Collins longer than Dee. The Coloradoan article points out the owner of the property has lived in Fort Collins for over 30 years, while Dee’s been here for 5. There’s something funny about that. (Not that length of time equates to credibility, I’m the last person who would argue that).
Colorebel…Oh yeah, the kindly professor who just wants to build a place for his family after 30 years of living in Fort Collins. Parts of the story don’t add up and I went back and talked to Dee about it this morning. The Coloradoan and Dee say different things about who’s really driving development on the lot. I don’t want to get into “he said” “she said” at this point. But I’m dying to see if the professor really ever moves into the house. Or whether it shows up on the MLS right away and professor and builder walk away a little richer.
However it turns out, I promise to learn from the experience.
hi catfc, well i’m a little surprised with your first two sentences, which seems to imply something about the motives or character of the professor. i truly have no clue on the professor.
i can only rely on what i can see as “factual” — he owns the property per larimer county records. in doing a google search on him it easily finds links to his picture and resume and shows that he’s been a professor at csu since 78 with a ph.d. in agricultural engineering. his work pursuits are water quality and environmental monitoring. he appears to have two happy teenage kids. plus, he donated to the democratic national committee in 2004!
i don’t know how to read that someone other than the professor is looking to build a house on the lot when the professor owns it. i guess if i have to chose who has a more neutral perspective between the coloradoan and dee, i’ll go with the former.
dee expresses concerns that “we don’t have a lot of power; we don’t have a lot of clout or say about what happens in our neighborhoods.” i thought that’s one of the reasons why people like living in old town, getting away from h.o.a. mandated restrictions and monetary dues?
Colorebel, I sincerely apologize if I sounded doubting of the professor’s character…I can see how my writing made it sound that way. I was trying to describe the point of argument, not the man. Because in the paper he came as a surprise to me. I had thought the developer owned the land.
catfc, thanks for the clarification and my apologies if i went off the deep end there. hoping to be more on point, does preservation (be it height, scale, ghost signs advertising cigars, etc.) have to trump every other competing interest?
i just can’t buy the argument of height, that a neighborhood of single story homes = any redevelopment must also be single story.
i’m sure someone can point out a “monstrosity” somewhere, but, it would have been a shame in my view if existing single story homes in a neighborhood means that development of something like the bungalows over on bennett road can’t happen. it’s a wonderful looking collection of houses in my view that i’m sure folks along springfield drive and the neighborhood to the north argued is not compatible for likely similar arguments here.
[...] District Designation to any of our old town residential neighborhoods (see previous post about Park St efforts to get Landmark status), it has recognized our earliest midcentury modern neighborhood–the 1600 block of Sheely [...]
I say let’s raze the whole damn thing and turn it into a 24 hour Wal-Mart with a McDonald’s inside it. I hate having to drive all the way to the edge of town to take advantage of those everyday low prices and one right in the middle of the neighborhood would be so convenient!
That house was a blight on the neighborhood for 20 years. Jim Loftis just increased my property value by ten grand. It was a rundown old dump. Drug dealers lived there for many years. My understanding is that utilities haven’t been hooked up for 11 years. There’s a reason there are no other landmark districts in Fort Collins besides Seely, and it’s people like Amick. Put your own house up for individual landmark, then start talking to the neighbors. No one seems to like living by example these days.
The bungalows over on Bennett Street? They could have been a little area by themselves with some buffer. I guess they are OK for the most part as some of the landscaping matures (even though they face Bennett Elementary which is clearly mid-century design). Still, they were tastefully done both on the outside and the inside (and they kept the garages in back) with detailed (but inaccessible) craftsmanship. Still, the 2 homes which face City Park drive as you turn the corner from Bennett Road? That land could have been left as a park or open space since those homes face ranch-style homes (or at least it could have been developed as one bungalow style home but accessible and all on one level).