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Challenges related to the development of historic neighborhoods

3/31/2016 | Real Estate Blog

When it comes to the development of real estate, in many areas of the United States there is friction between the community and those seeking to develop the property. Philadelphia is not an exception. Currently, the neighborhood of Chestnut Hill is facing this situation.

Readers may be aware of the desirability of the area. This is due to a variety of factors including the historic value of the neighborhood. Seizing on the popularity of the area developers are anxious to buy properties where the land is worth more than the structure upon it, and then redevelop them with new buildings. The vice chairman of the Land Use Planning and Development committee indicates there are a total of 2,800 houses located in the area. Of that number, he indicates approximately 25 percent actually have historic values.

Those who reside in the area and are against the redevelopment may be surprised to learn that codes currently in place offer little protection to buildings with historical value. Though the Philadelphia Historic Commission provides a bit more protection, to secure that protection the house must be approved as a historic property by the commission. Even when that protection is secured, though the house itself may be saved, the property around where the house stands may still be open to development, including subdivision.

Steps are being taken by those interested in preserving the neighborhood to provide education and tools to homeowners seeking to protect their properties. Whether this will dramatically impact the development of the neighborhood is unclear. In any matter concerning the use of property, a lawyer may be of assistance.