How do we properly protect the past without getting stuck in it?
A recent Coloradoan article shared the struggle of one family fighting for approval to add a second story to their modest older home. The neighbors appear to be in favor, they are maintaining the traditional ‘look and feel’ and are abiding by City regulations. However, the City’s Landmark Preservation Commission have delaying approval and may not allow the improvement due to concerns about affects on the view of the street.
The Landmark Preservation Commission has a clear mission to protect historic buildings, landmarks and in some ways the overall ‘character’ of our Old Town area. In all fairness, they do a pretty good job of accomplishing this challenging directive. However, some balance is needed.
It is not age alone that creates charm but the blending of the past with current efficiencies and improvements. Even on the beloved Mountain Avenue, the homes that shine are not those that have been untouched for 100 years but rather those with owners who make smart choices in improving the livability of the home while maintaining the historic elements. The regulation that any home built more than 50 years ago will require a historical review prior to improvement, and the potential of impeding said improvements by the Commission, has a much broader impact than would appear necessary for protecting those homes truly deemed to be landmarks or historically significant.
Homeowners need the opportunity to make smart investments into their homes and this often means expanding from 1900’s home sizes of less than 1,000 square feet to something more livable for current families. The City’s attempts last year to regulate based on size alone (Eastside Westside Debate) caused a lot of debate and this regulation has the power to do much the same.
When the protection of historical character prevents the maintenance of property values, who wins? Our team is passionate about our beautiful Old Town Fort Collins and we take pride in selling so many of these amazing homes. The last thing we want is to see them coated over with gloss or ‘modernized’ to look like every other neighborhood but we also don’t care to see them protected to the detriment of homeowners and property values.
As with everything, we need a balance to protect the past while moving into the present.