Historic Tacoma opposes Historic District Moratorium

Tacoma has not created a new historic district since 2011 and now the City Council is considering a moratorium on the formation any new historic districts. Now the Council has set a public hearing for Tuesday, March 5 at 5:00 PM. 
Affordable Housing on 500 blk of South L Street (2022)

Affordable Housing on 500 blk of South L Street (2022)

All of these historic homes were used for affordable housing; several were Section 8 housing.

Demolition for a parking garage (2023)

Demolition for a parking garage (2023)

All of these homes were demolished in 2023 for the purpose of building a parking garage.

When this proposed moratorium was reviewed and then endorsed by the Planning Commission, it was after being UNANIMOUSLY rejected by the City's Landmarks Preservation Commission and opposed by nearly all of the residents who provided public comment for the Planning Commission's public hearing in September.

Numerous studies across the country show that properties within local historic districts appreciate at rates greater than the local market overall and faster than similar, non-designated neighborhoods. These are benefits currently available to residents in the city's existing historic districts. A moratorium on the formation of any new historic districts will deny economic benefits and tax credits to the residents of historic neighborhoods like Hilltop, McKinley Hill, South Tacoma, Fern Hill, and Lincoln. 

That's not equity.

  • A moratorium and the possible elimination of any future historic districts will lead to greater inequity in Tacoma.
  • Historic conservation districts give neighborhoods, especially low-income and minority neighborhoods, a voice in their future and a shield against gentrification, displacement and relentless demolitions.
  • 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.
  • This moratorium would be contrary to the goals of the State Growth Management Act. For more on this, read our comment letter.

The truth is that a moratorium is simply not warranted. More importantly, a moratorium is not necessary because such districts are entirely discretionary, not "by right."  

The vast majority of Tacoma residents believe that the history of our city and its neighborhoods matter. A moratorium sends a very different message. Please join Historic Tacoma in opposing the proposed moratorium on historic districts. Submit your comments to the City Council by email to the City Clerk’s Office at cityclerk@cityoftacoma.org by 5:00 p.m., Monday, March 4, 2024 and/or speak at the public hearing on Tuesday, March 5, 5:00 PM in City Council Chambers. 

For more background, read the letter Historic Tacoma's board of directors has submitted to the City Council HERE.