Historic Tacoma opposing Historic District Moratorium

Tacoma has not created a new historic district since 2011, and now a moratorium on the formation any new historic districts has been proposed by the City Council. This moratorium proposal and whether it is warranted is being considered by both the Planning Commission and Landmarks Preservation Commission, with a public hearing set for Wednesday, Sept 20 at 5:00 PM. 

    Numerous studies have shown that properties within local historic districts appreciate at rates greater than the local market overall as well as faster than similar, non-designated neighborhoods. Findings on this point are consistent across the country.* These are benefits currently accruing to residents in the city's existing historic districts. However a moratorium on the formation of new historic districts will deny economic benefits and tax credits to property owners in historic neighborhoods like Hilltop, McKinley Hill, South Tacoma, Fern Hill, and Lincoln. That's not equity. In fact a moratorium, and the possible elimination altogether of any future historic districts, will lead to greater inequity.

    Historic and conservation districts give neighborhoods, including low-income and minority neighborhoods, a voice in their future and increasingly a shield against gentrification, displacement and relentless demolition. Historic districts encourage the recognition of historic working-class neighborhoods and promote the reuse of affordable, appealing homes and apartment buildings from the past 100+ years. Finally, City staff have made the point repeatedly in public meetings that historic districts are fully compatible with the Home-in-Tacoma rezoning plan to achieve housing goals for more affordable housing.

    The truth is that a moratorium is simply not warranted.

    At Historic Tacoma, we believe that our community's history matters, and our neighborhoods matter. Join Historic Tacoma in opposing the proposed moratorium on historic districts. Write to the Planning Commission at planning@cityoftacoma.org no later than Friday, September 22, 2023, at 5:00 PM and/or speak at the public hearing on September 20, 5:00 PM in City Council Chambers. (It is expected that the public hearing will begin at approximately 6:00 PM.)

    * "Preserving History Boosts Local Economies," US News & World Report, November 22, 2017.