Join the community support for the Historic Eastside’s C-O by signing our petition. We’ve now got over 100 signatures. Let’s go for 150!
Why do we need a Conservation Overlay?
On Sept 1, a new Land Development Code is scheduled for adoption by the City Council. In that process HENA will change from RLE to an R-SF zoning designation. The new zoning is generally of benefit to us BUT our unique and beloved Historic Eastside neighborhood will lose some of its current protections.
We could be seeing a wave of demolitions of our historic homes, to be replaced by oversized and incompatible new builds.
Luckily, there is a way to prevent this. HENA can ask the City of Longmont for something called a Conservation Overlay. With a Conservation Overlay, “Historic, culturally significant and unique buildings and structures, and features in the district shall be preserved to the maximum extent possible.” Additionally, new construction will be “generally compatible with the design and appearance of other exiting buildings on the block”.
Don’t let the Historic Eastside fall through the cracks!
As the oldest neighborhood in town, lying roughly between 3rd and 9th, and from Kimbark to Martin Streets, we have an irreplaceable neighborhood to steward.
By blocking potential massive and out-of-place builds we can avoid possible declines in our property values.
FAQs about the Conservation Overlay
What is a Conservation Overlay District?
A Conservation Overlay District is applied to an area by City Council to supplement the underlying zoning. It will ensure that new construction complements the existing architectural character of our neighborhood. Based on the requirements now in effect for the RLE Zone, it will require that new construction be similar to the existing houses in outside architectural elements such as roof design, size and shape of windows, building materials, and front porches.
How would it change what we can do with our properties?
Most residents won’t see any difference. Additions, modifications, garages, and out-buildings will be allowed. But scrape-offs and incompatible modern structures will not. A Conservation Overlay District is not like an HOA or local historic district! It will not create a laborious process or affect paint colors, landscaping, clothes lines, or interior remodeling.
What must HENA do to implement a Conservation Overlay District?
After working with the Planning Department on the language of the Conservation Overlay District, HENA will request that City Council apply it to our neighborhood.
Right now we have the option to have a C-O approved by city council if we provide a letter from our neighborhood Co-Chair (Dido Clark).
In addition, we also want to show that we have neighborhood support for our Conservation Overlay.
Beyond signing the petition, what else can I do to help get a Conservation Overlay in place?
We need your signatures on a petition and emails or calls to Council members insisting that a Conservation Overlay District be applied to the Historic Eastside Neighborhood.
It would make a difference if you could write a letter or email in support of a Conservation Overlay Zone for the Historic Eastside Neighborhood.
Here is the link to the automatic submission page to contact city councilors: https://www.longmontcolorado.gov/departments/city-council/city-council-members:
Thank you for your support!
What would be the boundaries of HENA’s conservation overlay?
The map shows the proposed boundaries of the conservation overlay. The bright yellow area indicates the scope of what would be covered by our proposed protections. The north boundary is at 9th, and the south boundary extends almost to 3rd.
Protections would be restricted to forthcoming residential single family zoning only (R-SF). They would not extend to businesses, churches, parks, etc.
The deep purple area to the west of the proposed conservation overlay indicates mixed use zoning.
The blue areas within the yellow overlay zone indicate a public use (in our case Collyer Park and Columbine Elementary).
The source of HENA’s map is:
What are the benefits of a Conservation Overlay?
Conservation overlays come with a host of benefits. They encourage:
- The historic look of our neighborhood to be preserved. No developer or homeowner could rebuild or expand their properties in a way that would be overly massive or would look “out of place” compared to buildings around them. Historic and culturally significant buildings and features would be preserved “to the maximum extent feasible.”
- Neighborhood identity to be preserved.
- Property values to be stabilized and possibly increased.
- Desirable trees to be preserved.
- Parking to be accommodated off-street to protect you and your neighbors.
- Solar access to be accommodated by any new construction (in other words a neighbor would not be able to build so high that your house and garden would be plunged into shade).
How might a Conservation Overlay protect the value of my property?
Typically, a C-O stabilizes property values and encourages quality new development and reinvestment in the area.
Perhaps more crucially, the value of your individual home in our neighborhood won’t be threatened by any redevelopment next door to you that is historically irrelevant or that could overshadow your solar access.
While a C-O does not have the same regulations as a local historic designation, it’s important to know that on the whole, property values tend to rise in local historic districts. That’s because people love the charm of the area–and are willing to pay more for that–often a lot more. A conservation overlay protects our neighborhood’s character.
For more details see:
What are Conservation Overlays designed for in Longmont?
Conservation Overlay options in Longmont are designed to:
- Conserve – residential neighborhoods and areas in the City of Longmont that retain the character of earlier periods of development,
- Stabilize – and improve property values in such areas, and
- Allow – new construction that is compatible with the character of such areas.
These requirements “overlay” or supplement the standards found in the underlying zoning districts, while not affecting permitted uses. For more details, see:
Are there any drawbacks to a Conservation Overlay?
With a Conservation Overlay in place, you would not be able to:
- Demolish your historic home without specific approval from the Historic Preservation Commission.
- Change the exterior of your house so it would become incompatible with the historic nature of the neighborhood
- Build a structure that is so large that it would block your neighbor’s solar access.
Would I need to do anything to my house to comply if it became part of a Conservation Overlay?
What are the boundaries of the Historic Eastside? Aren’t we a historic district and doesn’t that protect us?
Yes, it can be confusing. There are two entities:
- the Historic Eastside Neighborhood and
- the Eastside National Historic District.
The boundaries of the Historic Eastside Neighborhood are presently roughly Kimbark to Martin, and from 3rd to 9th.
The National Historic District lies roughly in the central /west area of the Historic Eastside neighborhood.
It’s important to know that although we have a historic district that is part of the National Register, this offers no protections from demolition, or new incompatible development or alterations to an historic house.
Is a Conservation Overlay a new idea?
No, there are numerous C-Os that have worked successfully in various US towns and cities.
In Longmont, the option to have a C-O has been in the Land Development Code for a long time, but it has not been used so far. Our current zoning provides better protection but that is soon to change.