Historic District Proposed for Petworth’s Grant Circle

Grant Circle Historic DistrictLast night, members of Petworth’s Grant Circle community met at the Petworth Methodist Church to learn more about what it would mean to live in a Historic District. The meeting was organized by ANC 4C09 Commissioner Joe Martin with ANC 4C07 Commission John-Paul Hayworth in attendance and in response to the filing of a nomination for the district on February 13, 2015. A hearing on the nomination is scheduled before the Historic Preservation Review Board on Thursday, April 2nd. While the historic district nomination has not been posted on the HPO Web site yet, you can learn some of Grant Circle’s history from my August 22, 2013 post on the topic.

Parade float on New Hampshire Avenue with Grant Circle in the background, July 4, 1921 (photo from author's collection).

Parade float on New Hampshire Avenue with Grant Circle in the background, July 4, 1921 (photo from author’s collection).

The majority of the meeting was devoted to Historic Preservation Office staff members Kim Williams and Kim Elliott walking through the basics of historic district designation and what property owners could expect in the permitting process. They also took questions, a few of which included:

  • Would a historic district prevent buildings from being painted? (A: No, not unless there was a Historic Conservation Easement specifically addressing paint.)
  • Would a historic district prevent a wheel chair ramp from being built? (A: No, but the HPO staff would work with the property owner to find a good location for the ramps/lifts.)
  • Would a historic district require current homeowners to restore/fix everything that had been changed over the years and was no longer original to the house? (No: properties are grandfathered in in their current condition. The HPO staff would only review the work triggered by new permits, at which time some of the more incompatible changes over the years ‘could’ be addressed if related to the scope of work.)

One of the things that was new to me was the handout below which breaks down the differences in the permitting process between properties not in historic districts and those that are in them. As the HPO staff pointed out, the vast majority (somewhere around 90%) of permits applied for for historic district properties are issued without ever going before the Historic Preservation Review Board, which generally reviews only larger additions or significant alterations.

ANC 4C will be considering support for the historic district at their March 11th meeting held at the Petworth Library, beginning at 6:30 pm.

HPO permit sheet


Explore posts in the same categories: Historic Landmarks, History, Preservation

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2 Comments on “Historic District Proposed for Petworth’s Grant Circle”

  1. Betsy McDaniel Says:

    Kent- Thanks for sharing. Great report and important information about Historic Districts.

    I just looked at the OP oversight report last night and saw these numbers:

    % of historic property permit applications reviewed over the counter

    FY 2013
    Actual 95.64%

    FY 2014
    Target 90%
    FY 2014
    YTD 92.63%

    FY 2015
    Projection 90%
    FY 2016
    Projection 90%
    FY 2017
    Projection 90%

  2. scottrobertsinbloomingdale Says:

    Kent: Yes, thank you for posting this news.

    Might you know which group or organization filed the Historic District application?

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