Lafayette Historic Preservation Board – formed in 1999, this citizen board has been on the leading edge of improving and preserving Old Town Lafayette historic structures, including formulating and advocating for affordable and sensible Accessory Dwelling Unit (ADU) regulations in 1998 through 2002. Larger, more progressive cities such as Portland and Seattle didn’t adopt similar ADU legislation until after 2015 (and Boulder still hasn’t). The preservation board also helped formulate and pass in 2017 the Old Town Neighborhood Overlay District, a codified citizen-driven effort to discourage construction of gaudy McMansions and oversized duplexes in Old Town neighborhoods. Old Town homeowners are encouraged, but not required, to follow architectural guidelines outlined in the 2002 Old Town Design Resource Book (PDF).
The pressing need to preserve Lafayette’s coal mining and agricultural heritage was kick-started in 1993 after Boulder-based developers J.B. Telleen and Raymond Joyce callously demolished the Miller Farm grain silos, the last remnants of town founder Mary E. Miller’s pioneer farm formerly located on what is today’s Lafayette City Center Circle. To avoid the gratuitous destruction of historically significant structures, including outbuildings, one of the Lafayette Historic Preservation Board’s primary functions is to review demolition permits for structures 50 years or older.
Development threatened other pioneer farms as well, including the historic Ewing Farm in northwest Lafayette, which led to the formation of the Lafayette Historic Preservation Board. Inaugural preservation board members included Dana Coffield, Vicki Trumbo, Bob Lyons and Andy Proctor.
Secretary of Interior’s Standards for treatment of historic properties — This is a good resource even if your historic home is not landmarked. Guidance includes appropriate mass and scale of new additions, which preserves your home’s uniqueness. But this has as much to do with respect for the neighbors’ adjoining property — that you’re not building something that will dwarf their home or block their access to sunlight. If the character of your neighborhood is one-story, then that should be your renovation goal. And, yes, homes can still be renovated and enlarged to accommodate the needs of today’s larger families. That is extremely important.
My renovations reflect a strong commitment to reducing society’s carbon footprint, in that recycling an old structure and preserving elements that have already been built is much more environmentally friendly and less damaging to the Earth’s climate than scraping and building anew.