Sunday, May 31, 2009

Raleigh Rickshaw Serves Rosengarten Park

I saw this fellow riding by while we were getting ready to start the first renovation today. His name is John Kirbow and he was nice enough to pose for this photo. He explained that Raleigh Rickshaw is happy to pick up and drop off people from this area. Living in Rosengarten park, you can step out of your front door, get in the pedicab, and ride downtown via the most energy efficient mode of transportation yet invented. John's number is 910-670-0516 in case you need a ride.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Rosegarten Project Getting Started

Rosengarten Park Update       

Cleaning up the Buildings

Last week, we started cleanup work on the block.  To help the appearance of the street we asked permission to move the boards securing the vacant properties from the outside to the inside of the houses.  Where visible through the windows, the boards were covered with black felt paper to disguise their presence.  We also removed the unsightly lattice covering the front porch of 515 S. Saunders and the cattle-pen-like boards that enclosed the porch at 512 S. Saunders.


Cleaning up the Yards

We have been mowing, pruning, edging, and cutting back the undergrowth around the houses and on the vacant lots.  We are not cutting down any trees and are also being careful to preserve an abundance of mature Wisteria vines around the site.   To clean up the streetscape, we will be adding salvaged brick to some of the spaces between the curb and sidewalk along Cabarrus and Saunders.  This work will continue as we start work on the houses.


Increased Security, Horse Patrols, and Other Police Enforcement

Each vacant house has been strongly secured and posted with no-trespassing signs.  The Raleigh Police Department is working with us to keep the street under control by patrolling via horseback, bike, and car.  The effectiveness of this was shown to us when we were confronted by two officers on horseback after showing one house to a potential buyer! 


Great Response to Initial Sales Offer

In order to progress as fast as possible with the restoration project, we put a couple houses on the market in their pre-renovation states.  These properties are to be sold with covenants requiring their immediate restoration to historic specs, restrictions against renting in the first year, and with the restrictive covenants of the HOA to ensure that each property contributes to the neighborhood restoration project.  The large number of inquires we received in the few days they have been on the market was inspiring.  We have had multiple showings and are now working to solidify sales terms with a few prospective buyers.  We are currently considering whether to offer additional pre-renovation properties.


Historic Research

We met with representatives of the Raleigh Historic Districts staff last week and laid out a path that will hopefully lead to both national and local historic designations.   Our online and NC State Archive research has already lead to the discovery of a number of interesting historical facts.  The next step is to schedule a site tour with national historic districts representative.


Renovations to Start Next Week - New Sign Going Up

We have secured the funds for the first renovations.  If the City Council confirms the BED committee’s 6 month extensions Tuesday, we will begin work.  To celebrate, we will be installing a large sign on the corner of W. Cabbarus and S. Saunders announcing the long awaited start of the project.  

Friday, May 15, 2009

Rosengarten Park Shared Space and Parking Agreements

Cross Access and Shared Space Sample

Practical Space Sharing Agreements in Historic Neighborhoods

Over the course of decades in historic neighborhoods, residents work out logical arrangements with each other to maximize the use of space.  These arrangements typically ignore actual lot lines and focus on the practical use of areas.  This is especially true with small houses and lots.   For security and maintenance reasons, it is also important that there are no unclaimed spaces, or no-man’s lands.  Since at this point in history, we have control of nearly the entire neighborhood, we are taking this opportunity to formalize these agreements in ways the benefit all the residents.


Creating Usable Space from Small Areas

If two houses share a ten foot space between them, with one house having a lot line 2 feet into the space and the other 8 feet, it doesn’t make any sense to divide it into two two awkward spaces that are too small to use.  In conditions such as this we are granting a landscape easement to the house with the larger portion and a maintenance easement to the house with the smaller portion.  The smaller portion house keeps ownership and the right to use that space for home maintenance purposes.  The larger portion house’s ownership remains the same, but gets use of the whole space, allowing for a functional courtyard area.


Cooperative Agreements to Provide Off Street Parking

Similarly, by creating cooperative parking and driveway cross access agreements, we are able to provide off street parking for nearly everyone, while preserving almost all of the historic tree canopy.  All parking and driveways will be made from gravel to preserve the historic character and to help preserve the trees. Click here to see a PDF of the agreements we are putting in place.