Neighbors unite to protect homes, historic status

By: Andie Adams Email
By: Andie Adams Email

A change to prevent too much change.

Residents in the historic 7th Street district are making strides in their efforts to protect the Victorian-style homes. That protection would benefit more than homeowners, some say.

On recommendation from the city council, neighbors in that area gathered to create a set of standards and guidelines that would dictate what could be changed on the houses’ exterior.

“We presented those to the neighbors in several meetings and got some feedback. There were some changes; there were some additions and deletions. It was a real democratic, grassroots process," said resident Peter Robinson. His property sits right outside the historic district, but he was still involved in compiling the list.

The standards are hard and fast rules dealing with windows, doors, porches and other exterior features, but the interior could still be managed however the homeowner wants.

Kathy Jordan, the historic preservation board chair, said there were a few points that some of the neighbors objected to.

"The push back we had would have been any standards for landscaping or paint colors. There was a big push back on that," said Jordan.

Now, the landscaping falls under the guidelines – or recommendations. There is nothing on color restrictions.

Additionally, a homeowner would have to undergo a different process to get approval to make changes.

"First, the planning staff will make sure it meets the criteria. They will then forward it to the historic preservation board for their review," said Jordan.

Appeals would go to the city council.

"It will hopefully make it easier on the council because right now any changes in the district have to go to city council, and they don't want to get bogged down with those things," said Robinson.

The real estate broker said the guidelines would benefit more than just those who live in the homes.

It would help keep tourism intact.

"I’ve talked to a lot of people -- visitors and people moving here, tourists and so on-- that think one of the prime attractions in Grand Junction is the historic district, said Robinson.

Last week, the planning commission voted unanimously to forward the standards and guidelines to the city council, which should open the issue up to public hearings.
Jordan said the city should address the issue next month.

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