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West Slope Neighborhood Conservation District?
A group of neighbors concerned about protecting the character of their neighborhood is asking the City to designate the area as a conservation district.
The neighborhood on the table for conservation district status is an area of the West Slope called Narrowmoor, and the blocks they want to protect look a little different from your typical historic district.
Originally established in 1941, the Narrowmoor neighborhood consists of about 280 homes, and a few undeveloped lots. The homes are primarily simple two story homes - one floor, and a daylight basement - mostly constructed from the 1940s through the 1960s. The homes were located on their lots to maximize their views of the Tacoma Narrows.
It's that orientation to the view that the neighbors want to protect. When the homes were built, the original developer established covenants restricting design and construction within the plats in order to preserve views and the character of the area. But residents say they've had trouble with enforcement of those restrictions, leading to tear-downs and disputes around new development related to scale and view preservation.
In 2007 a group from the neighborhood requested a historic district designation for the area, but that was denied in 2009, "due to lack of historic integrity and lack of neighborhood consensus." The current request is for a conservation district, a designation intended to discourage unnecessary tear-down, and "inappropriate" additions or new construction, but without the lengthy design review required in a historic district for exterior building alterations.
The group's proposal includes a list of criteria for new construction and additions.
- Restricting building height to that of existing rooflines, with no more than a main level and a daylight basement
- Limiting building design to "consistent and compatible" with existing structures
- Specifying roof pitch
- Limiting building footprint to 25% of lot size
- Requiring that lots be a minimum of 12,500 square feet
- Prohibiting view-obstructing vegetation
In reference to these proposals, the LPC packet has this to say:
The items below are proposed for regulation under the proposed conservation district. Some of these
areas likely cannot be regulated by the City under the conservation district code, and some others will
require additional clarification of language to be effective.
At its meeting on May 28, the Landmarks Preservation Commission will hear a presentation on the proposal, and give their feedback.
Is Tacoma ready to protect a low-density, mid-century development pattern?
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