story by Stefan Kamph
With the Overbrook Farms district designation still in dispute and other potential Philadelphia districts, including Washington Square West, in bureaucratic limbo, Stefan Kamph weighs the economic evidence. This article is a follow up to yesterday's Overbook Farms' piece (also written by Kamph), which is part of a special editorial partnership with Hidden City Daily on preservation in Philadelphia. Like what you read? Check out the full March 2013 issue and visit Hidden City for more stories on the inspiring preservation work being done in Philadelphia.
For years, advocates of historic preservation have been working to get the far West Philly turn-of-the-century neighborhood of Overbrook Farms designated a “historic district” on the City’s Register of Historic Places. This would complement the neighborhood’s place on the National Register, and impose restrictions on renovation and demolition. The city would review and approve any structural or cosmetic changes that residents wanted to make to their homes.
The effort has been at a standstill since September 2011, when a group of residents began to protest what they saw as too much government intervention on private property. The strongest complaint was economic: not everybody in the area, these opponents said, would be able to afford the financial burden of maintaining a circa-1900 home.