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Old 04-27-2011, 10:29 AM   #31
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For the Record

Thanks everyone for your input. I think I have my answer. Just for the record, we did not in fact know that we were buying in a Historic District at the time. It was newly designated, and they had not had time to put anything in effect. We moved here because it was a 'bad nieghborhood" and it was cheap. We discovered the fact years after we moved in. When we moved in 16 years ago, half of the houses were burned-out shells, vacant lots, and crack houses. All have since been replaced with Hardy-Planked, double pane windowed, modern victorian-styled abominations (on a mostly shotgun bungalow style street). How is that for double standards?

Nonetheless, ignorance is no defence.

Since virtually every house on our street has some form of deviance from the statute, we have decided to just do it. That in addition to the fact that we were pretty much told we would never be permitted to renovate our home.

I have to agree with the poster above, Joe:

"What is ironic, is these folks use and abuse their "power" to control land owners, and are forgetting our own history in the process. I have no sympathy for tyrants, elected or appointed."

Because this is exactly what is happening in our neighborhood: People are being told "No Way" by our "all powerful" local board (where you only have 30 seconds to speak before they swiftly cut you to peices) for perfectly valid renovation requests (read: not altering the appearance at all, as opposed to McMansionizing the home) And so, by being inflexiable and draconian, people like me have no choice but to break the law so that our homes don't rot to the ground, and have some form of curb appeal, either for our own gratification, or for resale value. (In a sick form of catch 22, if we don't keep our house painted, the city will put a lean on our property.)

Historic districts are quant, I'll give you that. But going forward, I'll definately think twice about living in another one


Last edited by subterran; 04-27-2011 at 10:39 AM. Reason: adding more
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Old 04-27-2011, 11:22 AM   #32
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Very nicely composed response subterran, I truly wish you all the best in your project.

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Old 04-27-2011, 11:45 AM   #33
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Originally Posted by mem View Post
You want bees? Try honey, not vinegar.
No, don't want to get stung so I'm suggesting using RAID.

-- Joe
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Old 04-27-2011, 01:17 PM   #34
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If ya don't want to get stung, stay away from the nest.

Personally, I would never live in the nest of a HOA or HPS. I am lucky enough to have found five acres in a semi-rural area where I can have a bonfire whenever I choose or mow my grass once a month if it tickles my fancy. But those that choose to live in the nest should be prepared for the apiculture.

For the OP that was unaware of the recently enacted district into which he moved, he ultimately has no one to blame but himself. These sort of things are not construed overnight. I'm sure that there was much political wrangling going on for months, if not years, before the district was finally created. The entire neighborhood was probably all abuzz with discussion both for and against. Due diligence would surely have shed light on the new regulations put into effect. Perhaps the title company should have been able to discover the new district. I wouldn't be at all surprised to find out that the previous owners were fully aware of the recent law and kept quiet, as they were only too eager to get out as fast as they could. They would be bound ethically and legally to disclose all they knew had they been asked, or even if they hadn't.
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Old 04-27-2011, 01:27 PM   #35
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Good luck. I do appreciate the frustration. I just hope you don't end up on the wrong side of things and end up fined or having to remove what you put into things.

I would definitely hop about the hood and bit and grab pics of those other variations. They may or may not help you if things go the wrong way here depending on when they were done and the role they played in establishing the historical guidelines.

It also sounds like you may have an over zealous historical preservation force. I am sorry to hear of such things and hope for the sake of others they mellow out a bit over time. As mentioned, I have never really had problems with any folks where I have lived. In contrast I have lived a couple of places where there were no controls and watched the property values decline rapidly. And of course it was extremely sad to watch Americans build in Belize on the shore unbridled and unconcerned by any sort of common sense or building codes. We've near destroyed a beautiful part of the country.
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Old 04-27-2011, 02:46 PM   #36
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Originally Posted by sdsester View Post

I do know how you feel to a point though. I walked away from a dream home for myself in Olde City, Philadelphia even though the historical folk approved all my drawings. The City was going to hold me to the guidelines the historical folks fought to get even though they were waivering them. All walls had to be x feet from the property line including ones for an atrium floor I wanted to add to the roof. I would not be allowed to use the bearing walls. Bribes might have worked but I was not that married to the project.
It's Philadelphia. Bribes are necessary. This is a city that has been run by one party for 50 years. Leadership is determined in the Democratic primaries and the general election is just for show. To get an idea, the incumbent who is at least mildly competent is being challenged by a brother of the previous, wildly incompetent and racist mayor who owes $500,000 to New Jersey and yet somehow has the endorsement of most of the major unions.


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