I am a little late with the news but it is now official, we are “historic”. The Tiny Bungalow and many of its neighbors were added to the Frank Lloyd Wright Historic District. If you follow this blog, you know that I am hardly a supporter of this move.
My perspective on one hand questions the thematic grouping of this home with Wright’s legacy and critiques the inability of the village to minimize the regulation it has on private properties. If their zoning ordinance doesn’t work to curb inappropriate development, then re-write that, don’t engulf the entire community under the auspices of being historic in order to curb development. I think that the decision to do this belittles the label “Historic District”. If everything is historic and can meet the woefully low expectations of our local historic areas, then what is the point? What is so special about it?
It will be interesting to see if there is a Renaissance on our street now with people clamoring to fix up their homes and to spend loads of dough to comply with the village requirements for historic properties. I am skeptical, to say the least. We are some of the smallest homes in the village and putting the kind of money into our homes that would trigger any financial benefit of being in the district is simply cost-prohibitive.
This week will be an interesting one. The village trustees will be discussing how they will use public funds to address some of the concerns we have had with the failure of the village sewage system over the past few years. Here, we have experienced flooding because the system is not designed to handle larger rainstorms. The village has several choices: they can do nothing, they can upgrade the systems, or they can fund private measures to improve homes to mitigate against sewer backup. They will not be upgrading the system, since it is so expensive. Last week, the local paper reported that they might provide loans in lieu of actual grant funds for projects. I guess time will tell.
This is a lame solution as it only allows people with means to purchase the upgrades. In my opinion, if a big solution like making large systemic changes isn't possible, then a grant program covering a portion of the private improvement is in order. The sewer system that is funded by the taxes that we pay is ruining our homes. We deserve something back to help cover the cost of “fixing” the problem at our end. Otherwise, I think that those that have the means may do something and those that don't will continue to suffer.
The irony is that last week, the village showed that they are VERY concerned about the outward appearance of our homes. Putting on a good face for the rest of the community seems very important to our trustees. This week we will find out if they are equally concerned about the inside of our homes. Are they content with allowing a good number of the residents of this village to wallow in shit once the next rain storm hits as long as it looks pretty from the street?