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Mirror Lake Local Historic Designation

Designating a neighborhood as a Local Historic District helps protect neighborhood character and celebrate our civic identity.

Historic districts across the country have been extensively studied to better understand how they affect neighborhoods. Overwhelmingly, historic districts maintain or improve surrounding property values, are more walkable than non-designated areas and bolster a city’s appeal to visitors and potential residents, just to name a few benefits. Need more reasons? Here are 24 of them.

Local Historic District Designation provides additional oversight of proposed demolitions and new construction, including public hearings for all applications, while establishing guidelines for significant exterior alterations. Designation also discourages the demolition of historic resources that are part of a city’s cultural heritage.

Fact vs. Fiction

When it comes to local historic districts, make sure you’re getting your information from a trusted source.

Local designation does not disallow new development, prevent you from selling or redeveloping your property, or dictate what you are able to do with the interior of your property. Designation does not dictate what color you paint your property or how you choose to use it.

Properties in local historic districts can also receive property tax deductions, and apply for grants, while individually listed local landmarks can sell their development rights. Questions? See our FAQ list here.

What’s Happening Now?

Residents of Mirror Lake have asked Preserve the ‘Burg for assistance in designating the area surrounding the lakefront as a Local Historic District. Like Beach Drive, we believe this boundary – about 200 feet from the lakefront – will preserve the historic properties around the lake, preserve the pedestrian friendly, low-rise character of the neighborhood, and allow for more intense development beyond this boundary.

There is a community meeting scheduled for January 10. You can find details here.

What makes Mirror Lake so important?

First, you might know that Mirror Lake is already part of the Downtown National Historic Register District. You might also know that Mirror Lake is home to a collection of locally designated landmarks, including the Mirror Lake Library, the Shuffleboard Club, the Lawn Bowling Club and the Mirror Lake Condos. Slightly farther from the lake, City Hall is a local landmark, as is the Coliseum

Initially developed as an orange grove by some of the city’s earliest white settlers, it later became one of the first residential areas in downtown, designed by boom-era developer Perry Snell and celebrated by renowned urban planner John Nolen as a respite from the bustle and commotion of downtown life. Later, Mirror Lake’s tourist apartments, shuffleboard complex, first high-school, and city hall cemented its identity as one of the city's most historic neighborhoods. Read More Here.

Ok, what’s the process?
  1. After a detailed application and a proposed map are submitted to the City’s Preservation and Planning Department, the city will schedule a public input session to hear from residents of the district.
  2. After hearing from the public and finalizing the proposed district boundaries, the City will send ballots to the owners of properties located within the district boundaries.
  3. Property owners within the boundary will have 60 days to return their ballots to the city. A simple majority (50% + 1) is required to move the application forward. A ballot that is not returned will count as a “no” vote.
  4. If a majority of property owners vote “yes,” in favor of the district, the application will be scheduled for a public hearing by the Community Planning and Preservation Commission.
  5. If the CPPC recommends approval of the application, the proposed designation will be added to the City Council’s agenda for a vote.
  6. Even if a majority of residents are in favor of the district, the Council can still vote to deny the application.

Take the straw poll survey!

*This is a non-binding, unofficial survey. An official ballot will be sent by the City.