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  1. George Triebel
    November 4, 2015 @ 2:33 pm

    Why exactly does your house not conform to the requirements that would exist if a Historic Designation were in place? Just trying to understand what elements would disqualify your new home under this proposed designation. Would it be impossible for your construction to be approved under this proposed review, or just time consuming, annoying, and oostly?

    In my view, the purpose of historic designation seems to be preventing someone from tearing down an existing (however dilapidated) home and putting up a cut-rate eyesore that doesn’t jive with the existing environment. While I don’t think your home falls into the latter category, I would hope that a historical review/approval process would be flexible enough to evaluate a proposed renovation on it’s own merits, maybe I’m being naïve.

    It seems that for a home in the $1.5M+ price range (like yours), a cost consideration for historical relevance is relatively insignificant. I would agree that an additional cost for historical review would have an effect on the lower range of the market, but then again, the lower range of the market doesn’t have folks budgeting for a $1.5M+ teardown and reconstruction.

    Since we’re on the topic of catering to folks with tight budgets: I’d much rather see a range of affordability in the neighborhood, rather than a neighborhood of $1.5M+ demo renovations. I’d much rather see the repurposing of an existing house assuming the condition warrants. I’d much rather see a 2000SF home than a 4000SF home assuming identical lot size. I’d much rather see a volume of homes in the <$500K range that makes it affordable for someone on a tighter budget. I'd much rather see a diverse neighborhood income-wise. I think these preferences reflect whatever interest there is in a proposed historical review.

    I can't say I'm decided one way or the other, but I think hearing both sides of the discussion is important, so thank you.

    -George Triebel

  2. George Dennis
    November 10, 2015 @ 8:46 am

    I would like to expand upon Wendy Mather’s commentary opposing the designation of the original platting of Park Hill as a Historic District. Like her, I am deeply opposed to HOA type restrictions on what a person can or cannot do with their own property. I would never live in a community that requires approval for what plants can be planted or submission of a picture of a light fixture over the front door to replace a builder’s Home Depot model.

    What Ms. Mather misses, however, is the huge gulf between leaving a junk car to rot on one’s (uncut) front lawn, and a light fixture. Within that gulf lie all the elements that define look and feel of a neighborhood. One can’t define it exactly, but you know it when you see it. It is that look and feel that attracts people to be there. They want to maintain and enhance it. Are there unique stores and shops on the street or cookie cutter franchises? Are the housing structures brick and stone demonstrating pride of unique craftsmanship or engineered material Lego blocks, destined to be first in line for a future scrape?

    We moved to Park Hill for the ambience of the trees, streets and buildings. The scale and variety of quality houses from the mansions of sugar barons to those cute-as-a bug’s-ear little alley houses. These homes show the esthetic values of those who have been here for decades or even generations and have been good stewards of the ambience that makes Park Hill what it is.

    For our last house on this earth, we took on the restoration and updating of a 1911 bungalow simply because we wanted to be part of what was already here. This is our dream, congruent with those who have come before. Some people important to Denver’s history lived here. We have no right to rip the fabric of the neighborhood, but are entrusted to mend it. And if it doesn’t kill us first, so we shall.

    I agree that Ms. Mather has every right choose her plants, her décor, and colors while meeting every citizen’s obligation of energy efficiency. By the way, our 1911 home is near carbon zero as well, with solar driving geothermal heating and cooling. Energy efficiency is a lame excuse for tearing down a dwelling that has survived more climate extremes than any house built today could last through.

    Park Hill requires designation as a historic district if it is to maintain its attractiveness. We already have architectural diversity in the futuristic (for the 40’s) homes designed by Edwin Hawkins that just happen to be in a better area for solar as well. In fact, the area I’m thinking of has several restored, under restoration and new construction mid-century modern homes that don’t look half bad because they’re together. I’m glad they were added to this year’s home tour.

    But the sense of entitlement by those who would build whatever, wherever just because they can, is too much. It will lead to structural “couches on the lawn” for sure.

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