Lafayette neighborhood pushing for zoning changes

A Lafayette neighborhood known for its historic look is working to make sure new construction won't ever interrupt its charm.

Posted: May 8, 2019 11:16 PM
Updated: May 8, 2019 11:26 PM

LAFAYETTE, Ind. (WLFI) — Lafayette's Highland Park Neighborhood which is known for its historic look, is working to make sure new construction won't ever interrupt its charm.

The neighborhood is working closely with Tippecanoe County Area Plan Commission to enforce a form-based overlay. That's essentially a change in zoning.

It would mean no new development can happen there unless it meets specific standards set by the neighborhood, the city of Lafayette and APC.

APC's assistant director Ryan O'Gara said it wouldn't impact homeowners already living there.

"If someone was adding on to their house or making some minor adjustments to an existing building this code wouldn't apply, they would just follow what the existing zone is," said O'Gara. 

It's tough for Lyndsy Manz to choose just one thing to love about the neighborhood.

"Sidewalks for our kids to ride their bikes and an intimate feel that's more than the straight streets of a suburban neighborhood," said Manz. 

However, she does admit the history and charm are at the top of her list. 

"There's a lot of great stories from folks who lived here back in the 30s and 40s that have been passed onto us when we moved here."

Manz along with several other neighbors don't want to lose that. She believes it's important for everyone to understand this resolution is a way of protecting the neighborhood. 

"When people think about zoning that word is a turn off or trigger for a lot of people to think oh you're going to tell me what color I can and can't paint my house," said Manz. 

"It can be as strict or as loose as you like," said O'Gara. 

He believes this process can only be successful if the neighborhood participates.

"I think the neighborhood and the people interested in this will have to gauge how strict it should be because you want to allow some creativity for an architect but at the same time, you're still trying to achieve this historic feel," said O'Gara. 

He added the reason the neighborhood is taking this route instead of getting on a local historic district is because it gives them more flexibility. 

If the neighborhood were listed on that district, people would have to go before the city and the historical commission every time they made a change to their home. 

The APC will continue working with the neighborhood on the resolution which will go before City Council and APC again before it's officially enforced.

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