Neighborhood conservation districts: The Future of Real Estate?

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I had the privilege of being on the air with Darryl Baskin this morning. He has a very interesting and thoughtful Saturday morning show, 7 a.m. on 1170 KFAQ, mainly about real estate, but touching on all sorts of related issues.

Neighborhood conservation districts, a zoning tool that allows new development while protecting the character of established neighborhoods, was our main topic of conversation. As a Realtor, he's concerned about not adding red tape to the process, but he also understands the value inherent in a neighborhood's character. I tried to make the case that NCDs can be done in a way that adds protection but doesn't complicate the process or stifle development.

Darryl's co-host, Neil Dailey of Baskin Dailey Commercial Real Estate Sales and Leasing, had a salient question about the conflict between neighborhood conservation and New Urbanism, which encourages infill to achieve higher densities. I pointed out that the residential teardown type of infill -- the kind that NCDs address -- usually just replace one house with another and add nothing to the overall population. New Urbanist infill would work better in, say, a vacant area downtown that could be replaced with a mixture of retail, office, and residential, where you'd be replacing a population of next to nothing with hundreds or thousands of residents.

We also talked briefly about streets and paving.

Here's a direct link to the podcast for this morning. You can also find it on the KFAQ podcast site. My segment is in the last half-hour of the show.

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Paul Uttinger said:

Thanks, Michael. I listened to the podcast, and I read the draft NCD ordinance with supporting documentation on the TMAPC website for the February 27th work session.

If a NCD's boundaries and rules are imposed totally voluntarily, then the NCD zoning overlay could work well to tailor the underlying residential district zoning requirements to help preserve the neighborhood's unique character. A NCD overlay will best serve a homogeneous neighborhood, and it will best protect the properties near the center of the NCD. I'm concerned that some property owners might be forced to be included in a NCD against their wishes, and I think this is most likely to be a problem on the edges of a proposed NCD.

No less than 100% of the property owners within a proposed NCD ought to agree to the district's boundaries and specific regulations. That would be fair and voluntary, and it would help in neighborhoods where there never were restrictive covenants or where any covenants have expired.

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This page contains a single entry by Michael Bates published on March 1, 2008 11:18 AM.

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