“We really need to be clear on exactly what the burden of historic designation will be and exactly what the homeowner will need to do differently, if anything at all, in terms of maintaining and keeping their homes up,” Kindt said.
Overbrook Farms Club
, which is a homeowners' association, was established in 1892, during the same time Overbrook Farms was founded. The organization is made up homeowners who serve and protect the historic nature of the community.
Overbrook Farms is located near the western border of Philadelphia and is bounded by 58th and 66th streets and Woodbine and City avenues and bisected by Lancaster Avenue. The neighborhood consists of about 500 buildings and was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1985.
One local resident of the 5600-block of City and Cardinal avenues said the historic designation is vital in order to keep commercial buildings and investors out of the neighborhood.
“We probably need protection from the onslaught of whoever would want to sell properties and turn Overbrook into something less than it is,” Thomas Cornell said. “Perhaps we need Philadelphia’s protection from those who would turn this historic area into a commercial area.”
However, Councilman Curtis Jones, Jr. and other residents residents, are concerned
the historic designation would create an unnecessary burden for homeowners. If a historic district was approved for Overbrook Farms, it would create additional regulations and codes for homeowners to follow in order to preserve the neighborhood’s architecture.
“I think the property value will probably stay high because most historic areas hold their value a great deal,” said local resident Carmen Hardy, who lives on the 6300-block of Lancaster Avenue. “But the downfall will be you’ll have to maintain it the way they want you to maintain it, not the way you choose to maintain it.”
Hardy said the historic designation might be a financial issue for homeowners who need to repair or update their homes. Recently, she installed a new gate for her home, along with new shingles and windows.
“We’ve done everything we’ve wanted to the outside of the house,” Hardy said. “So we really don’t need anything else added on, but what about the other people?”