Photographer to start taking pictures for proposed Westside historic overlay

       If you see a stranger taking photos of your Westside home over the next two to three months, chances are he's legitimate.
       A photographer - Otis Woods of Dragonfly Photos - was recently hired by the Organization of Westside Neighbors (OWN) to take photos of an estimated 4,000 buildings as a preliminary step toward a possible historic overlay zone on the Westside.
       Starting April 1, the photographic documentation will take place within an area determined by OWN to have a high concentration of historic dwellings, according to OWN President Jim Fenimore.
       According to an article by OWN Treasurer Dave Hughes in the current issue of the Westside Story (the OWN newsletter), “An overlay zone permits homeowners considering remodeling or new construction in this area to have their exterior plans reviewed by qualified architects and the city's Historic Preservation Board. The results of that review, in the form of architectural recommendations, do not limit the homeowner, who may proceed as he or she sees fit after 90 days of review. However, a homeowner who accepts the recommendations of the Historic Board and spends more than $5,000 in remodeling becomes eligible for a 20 percent tax credit off his Colorado Income Tax. This can be a real incentive for homeowners to preserve the outside appearance of their homes in the historic style that perpetuates the wonderful historic look and feel of our unique Westside.”
       Partially funded by the city, OWN is a volunteer association representing the Westside (roughly bounded on the south by Rio Grande Street, the west by city limits/31st Street, the north by Uintah/King streets and the east by I-25).
       The proposed overlay area is bounded on the south by Vermijo/Cucharras streets, the west by 30th Street, the north by Uintah Street, and the east by I-25.
       Before such a zone becomes law, the Dragonfly photos would need to be catalogued and architecturally analyzed, guidelines established and public hearings held (with eventual final approval from City Council).
       OWN has already shown some flexibility in the boundaries: The original east boundary was Eighth Street, but this changed after now-President Jim Fenimore convinced the rest of the board that there are numerous historic homes between Eighth and I-25.
       According to Tim Scanlon, the city planner for the Colorado Springs Historic Preservation Board, the board's guidelines and standards for Westside structures would be developed by the city in conjunction with Westside residents.
       The $4,100 photography cost is being covered by $2,000 from the Old Colorado City Historical Society (OCCHS), a volunteer group that runs the History Center at 24th Street and Pikes Peak Avenue, and $2,100 from OWN. Additional expenses are anticipated in the process. Donations are welcomed.
       “We feel that even if the overlay isn't accepted eventually by the community or the city, its crucial to have these pictures,” Fenimore said. “They'll be kept at the History Center as a historical record.”
       He said the picture-taking will start on the near Westside, proceeding west from there. Woods will be accompanied by an assistant, and should be carrying cards he's been provided by OWN and Colorado Springs City Planning.
       “He will notify the police where he's working, in case of calls about a suspicious person taking pictures,” Fenimore said, adding jokingly, “We suggested no trench coats.”

Westside Pioneer article