- Would the Edgehill Neighborhood Conservation Zoning Overlay (NCZO) prevent me from adding a dormer to the front of my house? Under the proposed guidelines for the Edgehill NCZO, dormers can be added to both contributing and non-contributing homes. This language was added to the guidelines specifically due to residents’ concerns. The dormers would need to be reviewed by the metro historic zoning commission (MHZC).
- Would the Edgehill NCZO prevent me from raising the roofline of my house? Under the proposed guidelines for the Edgehill NCZO, the roofline of side-gable historic homes can be raised by 2’. (See draft design guidelines for ridge raises at Edgehill NCZO Design Guidelines.) Non-contributing buildings can have completely new roof forms if the end result is appropriate for the district overall. Both types of additions would be reviewed by the MHZC.
- Why was the Neighborhood Conservation Overlay (NCZO) selected over other types of Overlays? The NCZO is designed for preserving historic homes in historic neighborhoods such as Edgehill. Other types of overlays are designed for other purposes, such as the contextual overlay that focuses on infill design. The contextual overlay uses the two homes on either side to provide parameters for context. So what happens if the homes on either side of your proposed infill home are not typical of the neighborhood? There is no recourse with this a contextual overlay to build what would make sense for the district, but with the NCZO the homeowner can go to the Commission and make a case for anything they want. There are staff members of the MHZC available to assist with planning projects, in terms of meeting the design guidelines. Another overlay considered was the Urban Design Overlay or UDO. A UDO is used to either protect the pre-existing character of the area with appropriate infill or to create a character that would not otherwise be ensured by the development standards in the base-zoning district. A UDO could be used in the proposed overlay area, but it is typically written from scratch. Developing an overlay from scratch leaves lots of room for error and many points to be worked out between residents. Once a UDO is written, it is less flexible than an NCZO due to the ability to appeal to the Historical Commission. A historic overlay is the only type of overlay that controls demolition, thereby protecting the historic character of the neighborhood.
- Does it cost anything to submit plans to the Historical Commission? There is no charge to submit plans to the Historical Commission. In addition, the MHZC can make setback determinations that can save an applicant the extra step and expense of applying to the Board of Zoning Appeals.
- Will it take forever for my project to be approved? With the NCZO, the MHZC has created a list of essentially “pre-approved” projects for which staff can issue immediate Preservation Permits. Other projects and infill projects go to the Commission that meets every month. To ensure approval and prevent delays, staff recommends that property owners take advantage of their advice and assistance early in the process.
- I’m concerned that the MHZC will require me to use expensive materials. Is that the case? Simply replacing existing siding, roofing material, windows or doors will not even be reviewed by the MHZC, unless all are being replaced at once. The MHZC routinely approves typical materials for new construction that you would likely want anyway, such as asphalt shingle roofing, fiber-cement lap siding and a variety of windows in a range of prices. You will not be required to recreate any missing historic features but you certainly could if desired. In that case, the staff may be able to find an early photograph to help guide you.
- What are the rules concerning outbuildings (such as garages and sheds)? Outbuildings should be situated on a lot as is historically typical for surrounding historic outbuildings, which is usually towards the rear of the lot. Generally, there should be at least twenty feet between the outbuilding and the rear of the home. Attached garages or those that have less than 20 feet of separation are appropriate for those buildings that back up to commercially zoned properties, such as South Street and the west side of Villa Place, due to their lack of traditional rear yard caused by proximity to large buildings.
- Can non-contributing houses be torn down? Yes, non-contributing homes can be torn down under the overlay.
- Will my house decrease in market value because of the overlay? The overlay team has found no professional studies that show long-term loss of home value under historical overlays. The overwhelming majority of quality studies show that historic districts lead to increased property values in neighborhoods of all shapes and sizes. For a list of these articles see the Edgehill Coalition website at https://edgehillcoalition.org. The supposed study from Sylvan Park that showed home values dropped 20% is not a professional impact study. It was a collection of comparable sales in 2014 from a realtor in the Sylvan Park. Despite multiple requests, the study has not been made available to the team.
- Where can find more information about the overlay? The proposed Edgehill NCZO Guideline can be viewed at Edgehill NCZO Design Guidelines. Members of the Edgehill Neighborhood Coalition who are leading our overlay efforts will be happy to answer your questions. They are as follows: Theo Antoniadis, Rob Benshoof, Joel Dark, Joyce Harris, Karin Kalodimos, Ronnie Miller, Joyce Searcy, Janet Shands, Pearl Sims, Andrea Sullivan, and Rachel Zijlstra. You may also email the Edgehill Coalition at firstname.lastname@example.org. For expert answers, contact Robin Zeigler, Metro Historic Zoning Commission at 615-862-7970 or by email at email@example.com.