Historic Washington Park • Meridian~Kessler
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FAQs – Design of IHPC Plans

Version 5.0 – March 29, 2016

What are the considered boundaries for Washington Park?

In its National Register nomination, Washington Park established its boundaries as the west side of Pennsylvania Street to the west side of Central Avenue, between the north side of 40th Street and the south side of 43rd Street. The Washington Park local historic area boundaries would mirror the boundaries outlined in the nomination.

What is a historic area preservation plan?

Land use and zoning guidelines help direct new development and redevelopment. The guidelines are used to help substantiate the desirability and appropriateness of development.

A historic area preservation plan is developed for each IHPC historic area and includes land use (or “zoning”) and design guidelines to facilitate zoning and design review. A preservation plan provides the framework for making design and development decisions. Each historic area preservation plan is developed with property owners’ and other stakeholders’ input. Because preservation plans are specific to each historic area’s needs, they range from restrictive to lenient based on the objectives property owners and stakeholders want to achieve.

Design guidelines help ensure consistency in design review and serve as the basis for making approval decisions. Some examples of what design review guidelines may include are: changes to existing exterior facades, demolition, new construction, additions, roofing, siding and masonry, windows and doors, sidewalks, driveways, and trees. In some historic areas, the IHPC reviews additional items such as porches, fencing, paint colors, exterior mechanical equipment, and swimming pools.

It’s important to remember that every historic area preservation plan is unique, customized for each historic area, and developed with significant property owner input.

What is design review?

Design review is the process of reviewing and approving exterior modifications, new construction, site improvements, and demolition within a local historic area. The objective of design review is to preserve and enhance the neighborhood’s historic fabric. The IHPC views each building and site within a historic area as unique, and it recognizes that the value of each historic area equals the sum of its individual parts, both new and old. For this reason, the IHPC believes that all existing buildings and all new development may contribute to or affect the architectural character of the area and all are subject to the review process.

What is zoning review?

Zoning review is the process of administering the zoning code and reviewing land use and zoning changes. In local historic areas, the IHPC acts as the Board of Zoning Appeals and serves as the Hearing Examiner for the Metropolitan Development Commission (MDC). This means the IHPC also reviews and approves variance and zoning petitions. Doing so provides a streamlined process and typically prevents property owners from needing to apply and appear before multiple Boards and/or Commissions.

What is the process for becoming a local historic preservation area?

Becoming an IHPC local historic area is a collaborative grassroots effort. This process starts with property owners establishing a need and the desire to protect the neighborhood’s historic assets and overall character. Once they document that need and desire, they present their case to the IHPC. If the IHPC agrees with their assessment, property owners outline a plan to actively engage all property owners and other stakeholders. This plan helps ensure all stakeholders work collaboratively to develop a preservation plan that is beneficial to all.

The process for becoming an IHPC historic area is outlined in the diagrams below. These diagrams were adapted from the official IHPC flowcharts to illustrate the approved methodology for Washington Park.

20150619_Phased Designation Process20150619_Phased Designation Process.p2

If Washington Park were to proceed and work toward creating a historic area preservation plan, who will represent Washington Park property owners in collaborating with IHPC staff to develop the plan?

In most neighborhoods, a steering committee is formed to manage day-to-day tasks involved in developing a historic area preservation plan. Typically, the steering committee consists of 8-12 people that represent the neighborhood, including property owners, business owners, religious and/or educational institutions, among others. The steering committee is a liaison between property owners and the IHPC, and it is the committee’s responsibility to solicit input and feedback from Washington Park property owners and to accurately relay the neighborhood’s goals and objectives to IHPC staff. The steering committee meets on a regularly scheduled basis (weekly, bi-weekly, etc.) and works closely with IHPC staff.

While the steering committee may assist with plan development, it’s important to recognize that plan development is a collaborative process. The IHPC believes it’s imperative to have resident engagement, participation, and feedback. Throughout the plan development process, Washington Park property owners have numerous opportunities provide input and feedback. In fact, property owner input and feedback is an IHPC requirement for a residential neighborhood, and multiple public input workshops are required during the plan development process.

Does local historic area designation impact the interior of my home?

Typically, no. The IHPC is able to designate interiors for design review. However, the IHPC has not designated interiors in any of its (currently) 17 districts. It has designated the interiors of two out of its eleven individually designated properties: Union Station, and Hilbert Circle Theater. The IHPC only reviews the categories of work that are included in the related historic area preservation plan.

If Washington Park were to become a local historic area, what parts of my home would be reviewed?

Historic area plans address only the exterior of a structure. The depth and breadth of a preservation plan’s categories of work that are subject to review vary from district to district. For Washington Park, those guidelines will be developed through the collaborative process outlined above if the IHPC authorizes the Washington Park Exploratory Committee (WPEC) to continue exploring designation. Public input sessions allow the steering committee to capture property owners’ desire to include or exclude potential items for review. The IHPC staff continuously works with the neighborhood steering committee and other property owners during the guideline development process to determine components to include in the preservation plan.

It’s important to remember that neighborhood area preservation plans are unique and customized for each neighborhood. Some neighborhoods chose to review paint colors; some don’t. Some neighborhoods choose to review fencing; some don’t. Again, neighborhood preservation plans are customized to meet the goals and objectives of each community.

What services does the IHPC provide?

Design Review (Rehabilitation, New Construction, Demolition, Site Development)

  •   Land Use & Zoning Review
  •   On-site technical support
  •   Assistance selecting building and landscape materials, paint and roof colors
  •   Paint and roofing samples, and general product information
  •   Resource library with information on
    • Architectural history and styles
    • Interior design
    • Landscape architecture
    • Renovation and rehabilitation
    • Building materials and construction
    • Indiana and Indianapolis history
    • Paint colors
  • Research assistance including:
    • Sanborn and Baist Atlas Maps
    • Extensive building information files
    • Historic photos of Indianapolis
    • National Register nominations
    • Newspaper clippings
See Exploring IHPC Designation FAQs for additional information.