State Senator Tony Avella will be introducing legislation that would allow neighborhood and other civic organizations, as well as individual homeowners, to register restrictive covenants and other types of deed restrictions with the Department of Buildings (DOB).
The DOB, in turn, would be required to inform homeowners and developers applying for permits to alter or rebuild of the restrictions.
This proposed legislation is receiving wide spread support from civic groups and other community associations.
All too often, we see beautiful historic homes in our communities demolished or significantly altered, resulting in a new structure being built that is completely out of context with the other homes in the neighborhood.
Rezoning has helped curb this practice, as has landmarking homes or districts that have a unique historical context or sense of place.
However, many homeowners still want to do more to ensure that their homes are preserved for the future after they pass away or sell their property. They have great respect for their communities and are willing to insert a restriction into their deeds that will protect their properties from inappropriate development in the years to come.
Many civic groups also feel the same way, and want to see that protective covenants already in place are adhered to in perpetuity. The Broadway-Flushing Homeowners Association is just one example of a group fighting to enforce their covenants.
The problem up to now is just who will be enforcing these covenants and deed restrictions. Usually, a local civic group has to take costly legal action in order to enforce these measures.
Protecting homes that have historical, architectural, cultural or even personal significance is important in preserving the character of the communities that we love for future generations.