Boulder: Council Sends Message Re Historic Preservation

The City of Boulder is serious about its historic preservation regulations. This week the City Council ordered a homeowner in the Mapleton Hill area to rebuild a “historic” shed located in the backyard.

The owner had removed the old coal shed and added a deck, retailing wall, fire pit and basketball court without requesting permission from the City. The Landmarks Board was given the case after a neighbor turned the owner in but decided that reconstructing the shed did not make up for what had been lost.

However the City Council decided to “call up” the case because it felt that it would send the wrong message were the City to decide the shed did not need to be replaced. Neighbors testified in support of the owner saying the basketball court was a neighborhood amenity but that did not sway the Council. All the items added by the owner – including the fire pit and basketball court, will have to be removed. In addition, the owner will have to build a new shed with the same footprint and style as the old one.

Note: This may be an extreme case, but clients interested in homes with historic designations should be educated regarding the regulations governing such properties. Historic preservation ordinances vary from city to city and to ignore the rules could be a very costly mistake.

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