Living within a National Register Historic District is both a pleasure and a privilege. One of the challenges of living within a community such as Old Towne Orange is the intersection of historic elements with newer materials and technology -- how do we maintain the historic fabric of the neighborhood while restoring our homes and commercial buildings with the modern comforts and conveniences of modern living? Fortunately, part of the answer lies within the standards already in place: The City of Orange's Design/Build Standards,along with theSecretary of the Interior's Standards (download pdf file - very large!) -- or click here for link to info. OTPA is committed to help preserve the historic look and feel of our unique neighborhood, and frequently communicates with City officials regarding violations of the standards cited above. Among the most common infractions are:
Installation of vinyl windows
Installation of vinyl fences
Installation of solar panels visible from the street
Installation of synthetic turf visible from the street
Removal of "historic fabric" (exterior character-defining features of the property - back service porches are a common infraction)
Replacement of exterior "historic fabric" with inappropriate materials (per the standards noted above) - examples would be historic walkways, rafter tails, window and door trim, exterior doors, chimneys, and exterior stairs
Demolition of an historic property without appropriate review or permits (including garages)
Installation of period-inappropriate exterior lighting
In some cases, the property owner is simply not aware that the modifications noted above are not only inappropriate for the historic district, but are also not lawful and could result in fines, requirement that the inappropriate materials be removed/replaced, withholding of building permits for a significant period of time -- or all of the above! In other cases, the owner simply chooses to ignore the standards, with the expectation that there will be no consequences, or that their project is an "improvement" to the property. The litmus test is that while changes to a single property may not significantly impact the historic district, if all property owners elected to make the same change then the impact would be significant. It embodies the concept of "death by a thousand cuts" and therefore needs to be monitored closely by City code enforcement within the Old Towne Orange Historic District.
As noted above, OTPA is committed to making certain that the types of issues noted above are addressed. If you notice an issue such as those mentioned, please let us know! We'll pass along to City of Orange Code Enforcement and follow up to make sure that the issue is addressed.