Historic District Ordinance
A historic district is an area with a distinctive character recalling a particular architectural or historical heritage. Currently, three such areas have been designated by the Allentown City Council and therefore, come under the jurisdiction of the Historic District Ordinance. The City's authority to create historic districts stems from Pennsylvania state enabling legislation commonly referred to as Historic District Act No. 167, adopted in 1961. City Council adopted Allentown's Historic District Ordinance in September 1978, when it designated Old Allentown as the first of the City's three current districts. Since then, the Old Fairgrounds and, most recently, the West Park Historic Districts have been created.
The Ordinance was adopted to preserve the historic and architectural character of the exterior facades of structures in the historic districts. The ordinance does not require the restoration of homes to their original appearance, although many owners have chosen to do so. Rather, the ordinance requires that any exterior changes made to properties within the districts that are able to be seen from the public right-of-way be done in a manner that is in keeping with the architectural and historic character of the building and the district.
Guidelines are available for each of the districts to help property owners with their designs. Further, each change needs to be reviewed either by city staff or the Historic Architectural Review Board (HARB) to ensure its appropriateness.
West Park Historic District
The West Park Historic District was established on December 20, 2000 by City Ordinance #13881 and was certified by the P.H.M.C. on February 21, 2001. The area is the newest district in the City and the first to be outside of the center city area. The district itself is centered around and named after the City's first park, West Park. The homes in the district are good examples of Colonial Revival and Queen Anne styles.
The West Park Civic Association (WPCA) offers assistance to home owners and future home owners with regard to guidelines governing our historic district and by providing information on City staff and organizations designated to handle these matters. Since the city Historic District Ordinance does regulate the types of exterior changes a homeowner can make to their properties within the district, the WPCA strives to provide a level of awareness that not only insures the protection of these beautiful properties, but also informs prospective buyers as to special considerations they need to make before purchasing in the district.
West Park Civic Association Contact: Thomas J. Yuracka 610-435-8850
West Park Civic Association email Contact: firstname.lastname@example.orgEt
City Planning Office and Historic Architectural Review Board (HARB):
City of Allentown website: www.allentownpa.org