Jefferson Park is widely known to have one of the best collections of early 20th century Craftsman bungalows in the country. The district is bound by Adams, Western, Jefferson, Arlington, Exposition and 7th Avenue. Recently the proposed Jefferson Park HPOZ (Historic Preservation Overlay Zone) got a few steps closer to becoming a reality. Following a number of high-profile losses of historic structures in late 2009 and early 2010, concerned residents and preservation activists stepped up their efforts to secure an interim control ordinance (ICO) from the city. This measure would temporarily limit construction activity in the neighborhood until the implementation of the HPOZ. An ICO would be used solely to protect historic structures from changes that would diminish their historic character.
In July, with the help of Herb Wesson’s Council District 10 field office, neighbors successfully obtained city drafted HPOZ-related documents which had been lost or mothballed due to the recent fiscal crisis, allowing wealthier neighborhoods to jump ahead of Jefferson Park and become HPOZs. Armed with this public information, CD10 and HPOZ advocates got Jefferson Park onto the agenda of the City Council’s Planning and Land Use Committee meeting in August.
The Planning Department indicated that it will finally start work, after a year’s delay, on certifying the neighborhood’s professionally prepared historic resources survey, which documents the historic status of every building in the HPOZ area. To help with this effort, a team of Jefferson Park volunteers walked the streets of the neighborhood to verify the information in the survey and confirm any changes that have occurred since the survey was finished in 2009.
The HPOZ seems unlikely to be put in place for at least another year. The city contends that there are not enough funds or staff to provide administration for a new HPOZ. However, the nearby University Park HPOZ board stepped up to the plate in early September and passed a motion that states its support for the proposed Jefferson Park HPOZ and its willingness to share in the Jefferson Park administration if necessary. This idea is being floated to the Planning Department and Office of Historic Resources, which administers the HPOZ program. Neighbors are hoping that this, or some other creative solution, will get the HPOZ finalized sooner than what the city’s capabilities currently allow.