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Spruce Hill District

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Frequently Asked



Spruce Hill Historic District
Questions Asked At The April 24 Public Meeting


Neighborhood Transformation Initiative

Will the Mayor's anti-blight campaign and demolition run at odds to our goal of preserving the architectural fabric of our neighborhood?
No. The Mayor's Neighborhood Transformation Initiative is to target buildings and blocks for redevelopment. A large part of the NTI plan is encapsulation of existing properties for future development, which would save many historic structures.

How does historic designation affect the development of vacant lots?
If a property is vacant at the time of designation, the Historical Commission has 45 days to review the design of the new construction and comment. The Commission will review the project in terms of the historic district - its height, massing, scale, materials. The Commission's comments are not binding.

Can you explain the preservation tool for ??? demolition by neglect? Are the opportunities for using this tool to require that a property be sealed and repaired rather than be demolished made more viable with the Mayor's Neighborhood Transformation Initiative which provides funding for encapsulation?
"Demolition by neglect" is when a property owner allows his property to deteriorate to a point where the building is threatened. A clause in the historic preservation ordinance allows the Commission and the Department of Licenses and Inspections to force a property owner to perform maintenance on the property to stop further deterioration. The Mayor's Neighborhood Transformation Initiative will accomplish this with its encapsulation program. The budget for the encapsulation program, however, is limited and must be spread throughout the city.

Many of these questions address very specific situations. Without knowing the subject property's address or having photographs showing the existing conditions, it is difficult to give answers that take into account every instance that may occur on every building. If you have any follow-up questions, please do not hesitate to contact the Historical Commission directly at 215-686-7660.

The questions were grouped into broad categories. Click the category to see that group of questions and answers.

Technical | Building Permit Application Process | Designation Process
Enforcement | Tax Incentives & Economic Hardship | Impact
Neighborhood Transformation Initiative | University of Pennsylvania
Ethics | Comment
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