Rebuilding Place in the Urban Space

"A community’s physical form, rather than its land uses, is its most intrinsic and enduring characteristic." [Katz, EPA] This blog focuses on place and placemaking and all that makes it work--historic preservation, urban design, transportation, asset-based community development, arts & cultural development, commercial district revitalization, tourism & destination development, and quality of life advocacy--along with doses of civic engagement and good governance watchdogging.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Historic preservation lecture Friday night: on the DC permitting process for allowing the demolition of historic properties

The Capitol Hill Restoration Society is inaugurating what is expected to be an annual event, the Dick Wolf Memorial Lecture, on historic preservation matters--open to students and interns, with a $1,000 prize for the winning paper and presentation.

From email:

Do we need more objective criteria for evaluating demolition permits for historic properties?

That question will be addressed in a variety of ways at the inaugural Dick Wolf Memorial Lecture on Friday, March 27, 2015, 7 p.m. at HillCenter, 921 Pennsylvania Ave SE.

Refreshments will be served after the lecture.

The Third Church of Christian Science, on 16th Street NW, was allowed to be demolished as a result of a decision by the Mayor's Agent.  Photo by R. Lopez from Curbed DC.

William King, a student at Georgetown Law School and winner of the first Dick Wolf Memorial Lecture prize, will suggest a modification of DC’s Historic Preservation Law that would provide objectively defined criteria for the Mayor’s Agent’s to apply when deciding whether to approve demolition permits.

It's unfortunate, that unlike a college seminar, copies of the paper aren't being made available in advance.

After the talk, the current Mayor’s Agent, Peter Byrne, the former Chair of the Historic Preservation Review Board (and Mr. King’s law professor) Tersh Boasberg, and Con Hitchcock, who successfully represented the C100 in the landmark 1990 Woodward Building Case, will join Mr. King and members of the audience to discuss the implications of his proposal.

King will suggest in his talk that the current law is too vague, placing both developers and preservation advocates in a position where they are unable to know what type of issues the Mayor’s Agent will consider. He’ll argue that the law should be more specific, taking away some of the Mayor’s Agent’s discretion in allowing demolition to occur. Architects, developers, and people concerned with historic preservation will all be interested in this proposal and the following discussion.

Dick Wolf (1933-2012) was one of the District’s most ardent and effective visionaries. After moving to Capitol Hill in 1964, he worked tirelessly and effectively on community planning (including the Comprehensive Plan), historic preservation, and sound neighborhood development. He served on the Capitol Hill Restoration Society (CHRS) Board for many years, most often as President, and also served on the Committee of 100 of the Federal City.

His vision for Washington was of a great, world-class city that houses both the nation’s great institutions as well as families with young children; balances its appetite for massive growth with preservation of the character of its irreplaceable historic residential neighborhoods; and integrates sound, sustained city planning principles, practices and administrative processes into all the city’s business.



At 9:58 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dick Wolf once said that those who think that they can live on Capitol Hill without a car are living in a dreamworld

At 1:26 PM, Blogger Richard Layman said...

Dick Wolf was against streetcars and kind of an a****** too. He didn't listen to or acknowledge others very well. My mentor described him as "fulminating".

My joke is that I will end up like him.

But he did do a lot of positive stuff as well, and we can't forget that.


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