Housing Complex

How to Protect the Not-So-Special Historic Buildings

After a day of phone tag, I finally caught up with Tim Dennee, a staff reviewer for the Historic Preservation Review Board.

Yesterday, I wrote about Dennee's decision to not recommend a set of H Street Rowhouses for a historic landmark designation.

His reasoning (in an extremely itty, bitty nutshell): They weren't that special. For more, see the original post. And for even more, see Dennee's recommendation.

Despite his decision, Dennee was impressed with the nomination from the Capitol Hill Restoration Society and Advisory Neighborhood Commission 6A, and all the effort behind it. He had some thoughts about how the building could be preserved, in the end.

"It was discussed yesterday. Landmarks are sort of the best and most important buildings or properties or archeological resources or objects."

As for other buildings that are less distinctive though "nonetheless maybe significant...They’re frequently more important as a collection of buildings, showing all the aspects and all the levels and layers of development in the entire city.

The way to preserve them is to really look at the possibility of historic district designation...Of course that’s entirely dependent on whether the property owners in that area want to pursue that. So if you’re worried about a particular building, the way to go is landmarking, and then you don’t have a two year process of doing a survey of a neighborhood, and writing a longer nomination, and doing a lot of outreach."

Dennee said he heard rumblings about people exploring the idea of a historic district in that area. No immediate plans though.  Let the two year process begin?

  • dc foodie with constantly changing posting names

    Tear that shit down, remove all barriers to development and tax the hell out of the vacant slumlords. I have not gone to H street and do not plan on it until it stops looking like shithole.

    Sorry Atlas District - your bars may be great but the pain in the ass of visiting you, not to mention the nagging feeling that my wallet is going to be forecefully separated from my pocket while I get tetanus is stronger.

    And I live deep in the heart of Shaw so it's not a case of white-boy-lost-in-black-neighborhood - that place just looks sad as hell.

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