If you follow the AP listserv, you already know that there is a lot of confusion regarding the historic review process in Armory Park (and probably the other four HPZs). The Historic Review Improvement Initiative (HRII) is a small group of your neighbors trying to drive improvements to the process. As a byproduct of our efforts, it sometimes becomes obvious that there is some misunderstanding within our community. The Roles of APNA (our neighborhood association) and APHZAB (our historic board).
APNA has no official role in the historic review process. They are concerned with preserving the historic character of Armory Park as we all are. They can be influential within the community and possibly with city government but have no official voice greater than any of us have. Anyone speaking for the community has credibility only to the extent that residents and property owners lend their support. The city website shows 136 Neighborhood Associations on its map. APNA is one of many.
APHZAB is an official part of city government. They are the eyes and ears here in Armory Park of the city’s historic preservation staff. If you start a proposed project with an informal review (optional, but recommended), they are the first people you will talk to. For a formal review, you must start with Michael Taku at the city who will work with you to create an adequate package (good luck), will take your historic review fee, and will eventually provide the APHZAB with an HPZ number which allows the APHZAB to begin a major review. For a minor review, Michael will schedule an onsite visit by an APHZAB member, a city/county board member and himself. The outcome from either process is a recommendation to the PDSD director who has decision authority. An appeal to mayor and council is possible. There is an HZAB (historic review board) for each of the five HPZs (historic zones).
While neither board has a great deal of power, the historic board’s recommendations have official standing and often prevail. Neither group taken a public position on improving or clarifying the historic review process; maybe we can encourage them to do more. Someone needs to. That is why we started our initiative.