Tempe Historic Preservation Proposal Could Make it Harder to Build New Homes

Proposed changes to the city’s preservation ordinance would make two-thirds of the city’s housing stock eligible for preservation.

1 minute read

October 2, 2023, 9:00 AM PDT

By Diana Ionescu @aworkoffiction

Newly constructed houses in Tempe, Arizona.

Newly built houses in Tempe, Arizona. | Gregory E. Clifford / Adobe Stock

It could become a lot harder to demolish buildings over 50 years old in Tempe, Arizona, according to an article by Phineas Hogan in The State Press.

“The Tempe Historic Preservation Commission is proposing to increase wait times for demolition permits for every property in Tempe over 50 years old” by making them all historically eligible,’ Hogan writes. “According to the Historic Preservation Ordinance, plans for demolition can continue if the commission deems the property not historical or if no determination is made within the period.”

The 60-day waiting period would “give the commission the time ‘to determine the potential of historic eligibility of the property’ and ‘to have time to reach out to the property owner and see ... if there might be some other options that could be worked out.’”

Housing advocates say this could compound the city’s housing crisis by delaying the construction of new buildings and adding costs for developers. “The proposed changes would mean most of Tempe's houses would be automatically designated historically eligible in the next 20 years. According to TownCharts, 67% of Tempe's homes were built before 1989.”

Wednesday, September 27, 2023 in The State Press

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