If you own property, or are thinking of buying property, in one of Canton or Plymouth’s local historic districts, read up! The laws protecting these historic districts – and the value of your property within the district— could be changing, which is bad news for homeowners. Proposed changes to the laws could end preserved historic districts, effectively terminating any and all regulations on property alterations.
Do Local Historic Districts Create Property-Rights Concerns?
The Public Act 169 gives Michigan communities such as Canton and Plymouth the right to adopt local rules and regulations to protect and preserve their valuable historic districts. These regulations prevent property owners from changing or damaging the historic look and feel of the neighborhood and the surrounding homes. However, some feel that these restrictions might create property-rights concerns for homeowners, who cannot remodel or alter their homes without an approval process.
How Do Restrictions Protect Homes?
Restricting the renovations and remodeling of homes within historic districts ensures that the historic look and feel of the neighborhood is maintained — that is to say, it prevents your neighbor from putting up a chain-link fence or tearing off the front porch or anything that could damage the value of YOUR property.
These restrictions also prevent developers from buying historic homes to completely renovate, or even destroy and replace, these buildings for new construction or commercial use.
How Do Restriction Protect Property Values?
Let’s assume your neighbor tears off his porch and puts up vinyl siding and a chain-link fence. Your house might still be in its perfectly-preserved historic condition, but now your neighbor has changed the feel of the area surrounding your home, destroying its serene, historic atmosphere. Not only has he changed the value of his home, he has lessened the value of your home as well. Properties in historic districts have a higher value than those outside, but these values will only remain high as long as the district remains historic.
What Can YOU Do?
Contact your local representatives and ask them to protect the law that protects your neighborhood and the value of your home.
Attend hearings in the House Office Building on Capitol Avenue of Lansing. Speak out and let your opinions be heard.
Spread the news. Tell your friends. Share on Facebook. Blog it. Get the word out!
Share your thoughts and opinions! We want to hear your story, and your voice. Why is protecting our historic districts important to you, as a homeowner, a citizen, or even just a visitor.