The Central Roxborough Civic Association begin preliminary discussions to create a Neighborhood Conservation Overlay on Thursday night
This overlay would work with the new zoning map that is currently working its way through city council to preserve the “character” of the neighborhoods in Central Roxborough.
“A conservation overlay works on the development side of things, and it mostly applies to new construction,” said Matt Wysong, a representative from the city’s planning commission.
Wysong added, “The overlay works like a blanket that covers all of the zoning pockets in an area.”
The movement towards an overlay district came after several residents complained about new housing developments, particularly on Green Lane.
The overlay would focus on items like driveway widths, porches and fencing in order to help maintain the existing character of a neighborhood.
“A lot of people ask, ‘Why does this matter? Who cares how wide my driveway is, or what my windows look like?’” Wysong said. “But these little things make a neighborhood what it is.”
Wysong stressed that any new rule changes would only apply to new construction or major renovations.
“We don’t want this to be too much of a burden,” Wysong said. “It would only affect you if you were changing the façade on an existing house.”
Wysong said that he hopes to have the new overlay in place by next spring, but it needs community support in order to pass.
“We won’t do this if more than 51 percent of you don’t want it, but we need to have these conversations now before things really get going,” Wysong said.