Historic Preservation Office Enacts Policy To Deal With Conservation Easements

Published: Wednesday, May 20, 2015 - 5:43pm

When the Federal Aviation Administration changed its departure and arrival procedures out of Sky Harbor Airport last September, noise became an issue for homeowners in several of Phoenix’s historic neighborhoods. Now some homeowners want to modify their historic properties to minimize the roar of jet engines. But for at least one, there’s a hitch. 

If a homeowner wants to rehabilitate their historic home, they can apply for a $10,000 grant from the City of Phoenix. In exchange, the city gets what’s called a conservation easement, meaning it can review any exterior changes. Now, one homeowner impacted by aircraft noise wants to remove the conservation easement and is willing to pay back the grant.

"We haven’t really faced this kind of request before and so I talked to our legal counsel and it does require an action of the city council, but a recommendation from historic preservation commission would proceed that," said Michelle Dodds with the City of Phoenix.

So earlier this week, the committee crafted a policy to deal with such requests. While there have not been any other requests yet, Dodds said it is possible.