Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Lanier Heights and Historic Designation

"No Historic District" signs have popped up all over Lanier Heights, the neighborhood located just southwest of Mt Pleasant and north of Adams Morgan. The signs voice opposition to the designation of Lanier Heights as a Historic District, falling under oversight of DC's Historic Preservation Office. The designation would mean some restrictive covenants for homeowners, but offer the opportunity for increased home values and prestige for the neighborhood. One neighborhood website, Lanier Citizens Association, does a decent job of showing why they are opposed to the designation with examples of historic preservation rulings gone awry.

There is merit to the idea of keeping your neighbors in check regarding actions that affect your property or air rights. But generally I'm against strict covenants that control whether or not you can use a certain type of brick on your stairway, or whether or not you can fly a flag from a second story window. Growing up, I remember suburban subdivision battles over flagpoles and car ports, but after living in DC for many years, it seems that we have a healthy balance and room for debate concerning preservation and owner rights. If you are interested in the Lanier Heights situation, there is apparent a public forum sponsored by the ANC this Wednesday, October 15. The address of the meeting is 2355 Ontario Road, NW.

Lanier Heights is an oval shaped neighborhood with a southern boundary of Columbia Road, a western boundary of Adams Mill Road/Calvert St, a northern boundary of Rock Creek Park and Harvard Street and an eastern boundary of Rat Park. I've always considered it a part of Adams Morgan, but to some it maintains its own identity. Except for Columbia Rd and a few businesses on Adams Mill Road, its almost all residential.