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City Council Grants Elm Heights’ ‘Historic District’

Property owner David Jacobs will now have to conform the designs of his future home to guidelines set forth by the Historic Preservation Commission.

  • Elm Heights

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    Photo: Dan Goldblatt/WFIU News

    Residents of Elm Heights who want to make any visible renovations to their homes will now have to go through the Historic Preservation Commission.

  • Elm Heights II

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    Photo: Dan Goldblatt/WFIU News

    Elm Heights is the neighborhood that generally falls between Bryan Park and the south end of the Indiana University campus.

  • Elm Heights

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    Photo: Dan Goldblatt/WFIU News

    Some portions of Elm Heights that were developed after 1955 are excluded from the historic designation.

Bloomington property owner David Jacobs, a benefactor of Indiana University’s Jacobs School of Music, will have to conform the designs of his future home to guidelines set forth by the Historic Preservation Commission.

The city council voted Wednesday to designate Elm Heights, the neighborhood in which Jacobs’ property is located, as a historic district. That significantly changes the way structures may be built or modified within it.

Attorney Mark Webb represents Jacobs and says it’s unfair how houses in the district are labeled, pointing to an area inside the neighborhood known as the ‘donut hole’  where properties built after 1955 are labeled by the commission as non-contributing and aren’t required to maintain the integrity of the district’s architecture.

“It makes very little sense for us to have the only post 1955 property in this whole area that is treated under historic guidelines where everybody else isn’t,” he says.

Webb wanted Jacobs’ property, which was purchased in 2010, to either be excluded from the historic district or have all structures within the district be labeled as historic.

Elm Heights’ neighbors began petitioning for historic status in August of 2011.

Webb says residents are concerned about the size of the potential structure and its setback on the property. Jacobs and his architect will meet with the Elm Heights neighborhood association in the near future to present their latest designs.

Elm Heights is now the largest historic district in Bloomington, containing more than 260 homes.

Kyle Clayton

Kyle Clayton is a WFIU news producer. He is currently studying journalism at Indiana University and comes to WFIU following an internship in the fall of 2011. After serving in the U.S. Army, he returned home to Indiana in 2008 to begin his education and pursue his interests in writing.

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