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Elmwood Village Association preaches patience in historic designation proposal

blog by Ben Tsujimoto  • 

There’s confusion in Elmwood Village regarding the impact of a recent proposal to make an area called “Elmwood West” a State and National Historic District.

According to a release from the Elmwood Village Association, a group called RANHDI—the Richmond Ashland National Historic District Initiative—applied to the New York State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO) for historic designation. 

The problem, according to EVA, is that the boundaries of the historic districts have evolved without public notice. Elmwood West, the first area that entered consideration, includes the west side of Richmond to the west side of Elmwood Avenue, bordered to the north by Forest Avenue and the south by Summer Street. Elmwood East, which is also up for historic designation, involves the east side of Elmwood Avenue to Delaware Avenue.

There’s little clarity on how the residents and businesses housed in Elmwood West would be affected by the historic designation, and the EVA is asking for more information and a little patience from the State Historic Preservation Office.

As a result, the SHPO will hold a public meeting at 7 p.m. Aug. 21 at Pilgrim-St. Luke’s United Church of Christ, 335 Richmond Ave. to discuss what designation as a “historic district” would mean for those involved. Perhaps the most troubling part is this, according to the EVA:

We have been told that the only way that the designation will not be approved is if 51% of property owners register their objections in individual, notarized letters before September 20th.

The EVA would like supporters to encourage the SHPO to delay its decision by three months so that affected residents can educate themselves on whether or not historic designation would be good for the neighborhood by attending the meeting next Tuesday or writing a letter to the address below:

Historic Preservation Field Services Bureau
New York State Office of Parks, Recreation, & Historic Preservation
Historic Preservation Field Services Bureau
Peebles Island, P.O. Box 189, Waterford, NY 12188-0189

A community-funded initiative, RANHDI’s vision and explanation of its process in applying for historic designation can be found here, and it centers around tax credits rewarding residents for maintenance and rehabilitation measures.

2. National and State designation as a historic district allows home and business owners in qualifying census tracts [the Richmond Elmwood National Register Historic District] to qualify for New York State Historic Homeowner Tax Credits on their certified historic rehabilitation projects. There is NO impact on any household that chooses not to participate in the program. There is not any new requirement of home or business owners in a designated National Register historic district to submit their rehabilitation or maintenance plans to a local planning or local preservation board. Receipt of tax credits, however, will require pre-approval of the project by the State Historic Preservation Office following very broad federal guidelines meant to help preserve the historic nature of the historic houses and buildings in the historic district.

(Header photo courtesy of Megan Palizay—full gallery of Black Friday shopping at Elmwood here).

TAGGED: elmwood village association, eva, historic preservation, ranhdi, richmond ashland national historic district initiative, state historic preservation office

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