New Site Features
A historic property is ordinarily comprised of a building or buildings
and the associated land area or site. This land area establishes
a spatial relationship between the building or buildings and any
historic landscape features, including open space, driveways, walkways,
walls, fences, and plantings. A rehabilitation project encompasses
not only exterior and interior work on the historic building or
buildings, but also any changes to the surrounding site. If new
site features—such as parking and planting schemes—are
proposed as part of a project, they must be carefully designed.
To meet the Standards for Rehabilitation, new site elements
- Preserve significant landscape features on the site.
- Be compatible with the historic character of the property.
Basic guidance for new site features that will meet the
- New site features should be compatible with the building(s)
and the significant landscape features on the site. Additionally,
new site features should be consistent with the historic use of
- New site features should be as unobtrusive as possible in both
location and design.
- New site features should preserve the historic relationship
building(s) and the significant landscape features.
Parking compatible with the historic character
Photo/Drawing: NPS Files
The proposed conversion of this school (left) to apartments
involves adding more on-site parking. The front lawn is intact,
as this picture shows, and the existing parking lot is confined
to the rear and a portion of one side yard.
As this site plan (right) shows, most of the parking for
the rehabilitation project will be accommodated in existing rear
and side locations. However, some additional parking is required.
To satisfy that requirement and yet preserve the integrity of the
intact front lawn, spaces (shaded purple) for angled parking are proposed at the
perimeter of the front lawn immediately adjacent to the street. The existing sidewalk parallel to the street will
only have to be slightly realigned to accommodate the necessary
depth for the new parking.
This solution is successful, as the peripheral
parking is unobtrusive and will preserve the main expanse of front
lawn, which is a significant landscape feature.
Parking incompatible with the historic character
This former historic residence (left), which was
converted to law offices, had a front yard with bushes and trees
prior to rehabilitation. A parking lot (right) was created in the front
yard of this house. It obliterated the front lawn, a significant
landscape feature, and compromised the historic setting of this
residential property. The parking area would have been largely unobtrusive
if it had been placed at the rear of the building or along a less
visible side elevation.
Photos: NPS files