The city’s oldest neighborhood is close to taking action to preserve its history.
As the deadline to return ballots nears, Browne’s Addition is within 20 votes of establishing itself as a historic district, according to a press release issued by Councilwoman Lori Kinnear’s office on Monday.
If adopted, the historic designation would require new developments, or additions to existing buildings, to comply with a set of historic guidelines currently under review and open to public comment.
Ballots were mailed to Browne’s Addition residents in June and must be returned to the Historic Preservation Office in City Hall by Thursday.
In order for the designation to pass, a majority of ballots mailed to Browne’s Addition residents must be returned and marked in favor of establishing a historic district.
Browne’s Addition would be the first city neighborhood to take advantage of an ordinance passed in 2018 by the Spokane City Council. The ordinance, championed by Kinnear, enables neighborhoods to band together to establish historic district overlay zones.
This summer’s vote is the culmination of years of neighborhood anxiety over the demolition of several historic buildings in Browne’s Addition.
The neighborhood was listed on the National Register Historic District in 1976, but that designation only resulted in a limited review of demolition, not of new development.
In addition to setting standards on new development, advocates say the designation also would enable current property owners to apply for incentives like a Special Tax Valuation and the Facade Improvement Grant program.
The designation also requires formal approval of the Spokane City Council, while the Spokane Historic Landmarks Commission, which has the topic listed on the agenda of its Aug. 28 meeting, will make a final recommendation.
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