Historic homes may be a hassle

"Joe Irwin/Staff Photo The modern face of Poulsbo might be getting a blast from the past if the city council agrees to increase its protection of historic homes. While the plan looks good on paper, the majority of council feels the program could prove extremely difficult to create and even harder to implement. "

“City wrestles with suggestion to protect older house styles. POULSBO – The suggestion has merit, city council agreed. Protect the historic and Scandinavian style homes in Poulsbo by amplifying certain sections of the city’s comprehensive plan. However, other members on the council are concerned that councilwoman Connie Lord’s ideas for establishing a historic district could quickly gobble up both time and resources from the city. In the comp plan it says we’re supposed to protect the character of the neighborhoods, Lord pointed out Nonethelesss, planning director Glenn Gross, who is working on the proposal for the city, said the historic district raises questions concerning everything from impacts on staff and review criteria to property rights and possible incentives for historic home owners. It’s a difficult process, Lord admitted. A goal of the Growth Management Act’s Historic Preservation section is to identify and encourage the preservation of lands, sites and structures that have historical and archeological significance. It’s to protect what we have, Lord said. Sound simple? It isn’t, council members explained. About four years careers ago… in a galaxy far, far away I was involved in a process like this, councilman Ed Stern said. We don’t want to affect negatively. We want to affect positively. Stern went on to explain that Poulsbo could not handle a project of this magnitude on its own and would likely have to seek assistance from national agencies. We don’t want to re-invent the wheel, he remarked. Others on council asked whether the proposal accurately reflected the desire of Poulsbo citizens. It is a huge commitment, Dale Rudolph said. The question is, ‘What is the character of the community?’ Rudolph, a resident of Poulsbo for 42 years, said he felt the character of the community was change and pointed out that under the comp plan’s standard to protect pre-1950 houses, the ramshackle projects that were once at Poulsbo Place would still be standing. Is the history of Poulsbo growing with the times or is it drawing a line in the sand at 1950? he asked, adding that he had concerns ranging from how defensible the plan would be to how much it would cost to implement. Original estimates from the city planning department pegged the project at about $50,000 but this cost could be offset somewhat by volunteer labor and by utilizing programs at the University of Washington, according to Lord. Council members Mike Regis and Jim Henry support taking a closer look at the proposal, getting citizen input and pursuing efforts to protect the character of Poulsbo’s older homes and neighborhoods. The small-town character, several concurred, is an important aspect of the city and something the council should strive to keep in place. “