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Washington Voices

Historic District Won’t Be Seeing Manufactured Homes

Homeowners in some of Spokane’s oldest neighborhoods breathed a sigh of relief last week when the City Council voted to allow manufactured housing in all parts of the city - except historic districts.

“We need infill, but we need to keep it within the fabric of the neighborhood, to protect the continuity of historic districts,” said Mac McCandless, a Corbin Park resident.

Spokane counts seven neighborhoods and four nonresidential areas listed as districts on the National Register of Historic Places. On the North Side there are two: the Mission Avenue and Corbin Park historic districts. Corbin Park is the only neighborhood that also carries the more restrictive local historic district designation.

Teresa Brum, director of the city’s historic preservation office, cheers the council decision.

“A historic district derives its identity from a collection of related significant properties,” said Brum. “The addition of manufactured housing could compromise the integrity of a historic district.”

There are about 1,400 Spokane homes and businesses in recognized historic districts. Most are on the South Side.

“There are historic districts with vacant lots, and there are examples of exquisite new houses that have been built on the lots, that fit the neighborhood,” said McCandless.

He mentions a Victorian-style house at 212 W. Cleveland, just outside the official boundaries of the historic district. It was built in 1993, but blends with the older neighborhood homes.

“As a national historic district, there are no requirements or constraints on what you can or can’t do with your property,” said Brum. “There’s no requirement to open your home to the public, or paint it certain colors, for example.”

As a local historic district, the Corbin Park area has more regulations prohibiting significant changes to the outside of home or the types of materials that can be used.

It can take two years or more to be declared a historic district.

These are the city’s recognized historic neighborhoods on the North Side:

The Corbin Park district surrounds the oval city park that was once a horse-racing track and the Spokane fairgrounds. The boundaries are Waverly Place, which runs along the south side of the park, Park Place, along the north side of the park, Post Street on the west, and Normandie Street on the east.

The Mission Avenue district, which runs along both sides of Mission roughly from Pearl Street to Hamilton Street. It is a collection of late 19th and early 20th century houses fronting on one of the city’s oldest landscaped boulevards.

The Browne’s Addition, Peaceful Valley, Rockwood, Marycliff-Cliff Park and Ninth Avenue historic districts are all on the South Side.

Non-residential historic districts include Felt’s Field, Fort George Wright, Riverside Avenue and the Spokane River, including Riverfront Park and stretching north beyond the Spokane County Courthouse.

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