Dear HRA Neighbors, This post includes important information. Please read through to the end - I know it’s a lot! We will put it on the website for reference as well.
First, please be advised that the HOD Petition deadline for voting is this coming Monday, November 25th. We are asking that every resident sign the petition so we have an accurate gauge of neighborhood interest in pursuing an HOD.
There has been some confusion about the “petition" and the online “survey” and the “vote”. To clarify, these are all one and the same. No matter which venue you use, your voice/vote only counts one time. There is one vote per household; you must be the homeowner to vote; renters may not vote. We urge renters to please get in touch with your homeowner or property management company to ask your homeowner to vote, and point them to the website for information and to vote.
A question came up about voter authentication. An arm of FoHRA has studied this, please see attached note regarding what we will do to ensure this.
There has been confusion as to whether you are voting to make a study, or voting to show your interest in pursuing a Historic Overlay District (HOD). For clarification: you are voting to show your interest in pursuing an HOD. The study cannot and will not happen, unless a clear majority of homeowners shows their interest in pursuing an HOD. This might seem like semantics so I’ve spelled out the process below. You can find this information online and on our website; but here are the highlights:
1) The County sees the HOD as a beneficial tool for the community, and one that, in fact, very few communities can partake in. In order to be considered for an HOD, the community must have historic or architectural significance and must be largely in tact.* In order to pursue an HOD, a community must have their County Supervisor’s** support. Support is shown in the form of majority-interest in pursuing an HOD.
2) FoHRA rolls out a petition: does the HRA community want to pursue an HOD or not?
3) Both FoHRA and County Supervisor would like a clear majority interest rather than a simple majority interest, in order to pursue an HOD. Please note: a ‘clear majority’ is not required but preferred, and is something both FoHRA and County Supervisor agreed to. Said another way, we will not pursue an HOD with only 51% community interest.
4) If a clear majority of HRA votes to pursue an HOD, we present the petition results to our County Supervisor. County Supervisor in turn presents request to Board of Supervisors (BoS) in a monthly meeting. (note: Linda Smyth, our outgoing Supervisor, has already confirmed to us that she will support us on this).
5) If BoS votes in favor of HRA-HOD, then county staff is asked to begin study.
6) Part of the study includes vetting that our neighborhood is worthy of an HOD. Part of the study includes a number of meetings with a team comprised of county staff and a group of HRA residents with varying expertise, in order to come up with the eventual guidelines.
7) If these community-specific guidelines are adopted by the community, then an HOD is designated. If they are not adopted or cannot be agreed upon, then no HOD designation is given.
8) The county process can take up to 2 years, however we may benefit from the fact that Hollin Hills is already half way through their process in achieving HOD designation, because we share several major, similar, aspects: we are both mid-century neighborhoods, and we both depend on the surrounding, garden-like, nature-dominant, environment for the success of our neighborhood. This means that the county will have already honed their language regarding both of these fundamental aspects.
* HRA fits within these parameters for an HOD in part because it is a specific example of post-war, modest-cost, mid-century architecture in a preserved setting. Hollin Hills (HH) has star-chitecture in the form of some Charles Goodman homes. What does HRA have? HRA was architect-designed (as opposed to just builder/developer) and unique in an aspect HH wasn't: our homes were built as starter homes, and as such, were intended to be added on to over the years, as folks’ needs changed. This has played out, due to sensitive siting of the houses, in ensuring our homes do not remain static, nor ’same’. What will be interesting in forming the guidelines, will be the need to be sympathetic not only to the architecture and our natural setting, but also to this idea that our homes were meant to change.
**Most of you know that Linda Smyth, who has been our Supervisor for almost 2 decades, is retiring, and Dalia Palchik was voted in to become our new Supervisor. Linda’s last BoS meeting is December 3rd. It is for this reason that we are trying to complete the HOD petition by this Monday, in time for her to present it at her last meeting. She has been a staunch supporter of HRA across her tenure as Supervisor, and she supports our effort, and she has been on deck with us throughout our process. This is not to say Dalia Palchik wouldn’t also go to bat for us, but we would have to put more effort into getting her up to speed on HRA, and making HRA a priority for her.
What happens on Monday 11/25/2019? A) If we have a clear majority by Monday, we can submit it to Linda Smyth for inclusion in her last Board of Supervisor’s meeting. OR B) If we are still lagging in neighborhood completion of the petition, we will extend the deadline to hear from more of you. We really don’t want to do this. We are moving into the holidays, we are an all-volunteer group doing this on all our behalf, and we will then also have to add the effort of getting Dalia up to speed on all this.
PLEASE HELP US AND SIGN THE PETITION before THIS MONDAY, 11/25/2019.
Many thanks, Edith MacArthur Chair, FoHRA Recent Past President, HRA Civic Association