Town of Lake City, PO Box 544, Lake City, CO  81235.  970-944-2333.  
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Common Myths & Misconceptions About the Lake City Historic District

Often, people who own properties within a historic district have questions about how local preservation ordinances affect them.  Sometimes, incorrect information is circulated through word-of-mouth.  This section addresses the most common misinformation that occurs about the Lake City Historic District and in other districts across the nation.

If your question or concern is not addressed here, please contact the Town of Lake City at 970-944-2333 or for assistance.

Myth: The preservation ordinance restricts what colors I can paint my building.

Untrue.  Exterior colors are not regulated by the Town of Lake City's preservation ordinance.  Find out more in What Preservation Ordinances Do and Do Not Do.

Myth: The preservation ordinance restricts the interior design of my building.

Untrue.  The interiors of properties are not regulated by the Town of Lake City's preservation ordinance.  Find out more in What Preservation Ordinances Do and Do Not Do.

Myth: Being listed on the National Register protects a building from being damaged or demolished.

Untrue. National Register listing does not offer protection to properties.  However, local ordinances do offer protection.  Find out more in What Preservation Ordinances Do and Do Not Do.

Myth: Vinyl siding is a better, low maintenance option than wood siding on historic buildings.

Untrue.  In addition to the loss of historic character, the application of vinyl siding on a historic building results in diminished property values. 

In addition, vinyl siding:
  • Obliterates and/or destroys the architectural features of the building (and its aesthetics)
  • Keeps unwanted moisture inside the walls
  • Has little impact on energy efficiency
  • Is not repairable
  • May end up covering problems (e.g. moisture) instead of fixing them.
Read the pros and cons in Vinyl Siding, the Real Issues.

Myth: My property values are lower because my property is located in a historic district.

Untrue.  Donovan Rypkema, economic development consultant and preservationist, notes, "Perhaps the area of preservation's economic impact that's been studied most frequently is the effect of local historic districts on property values.  It has been looked at by a number of people and institutions using a variety of methodologies in historic districts all over the country.  The most interesting thing is the consistency of the findings.  Far and away the most common result is that properties within local historic districts appreciate at rates greater than the local market overall and faster than similar non-designated neighborhoods. Recent analysis indicates that historic districts are also less vulnerable to the volatility that often affects real estate during interest rate fluctuations and economic downturns."

"Like it or not we live in an economically globalized world. To be economically sustainable it's necessary to be economically competitive. But to be competitive in a globalized world a community must position itself to compete not just with other cities in the region but with other cities on the planet. And a large measure of that competitiveness will be based on the quality of life the local community provides, and the built heritage is a major component of the quality of life equation. This is a lesson that is being recognized worldwide."

Read more in The Economic Benefits of Preservation by Donovan Rypkema.

Myth: The Lake City Historic District impedes and restricts business growth.

Untrue. Study after study shows that historic preservation efforts such as the Lake City Historic District promote and stimulate local businesses and economies.

Historic preservation and historic districts:
  • Create jobs
  • Increase property values
  • Use existing public investments
  • Support small businesses
  • Revitalize Main Streets (and Silver Street, and Gunnison Avenue)
  • Attracts visitors, vital to a town like Lake City
Read more in Economic Benefits of Historic Preservation.

Myth: New replacement windows are better and more energy efficient than old historic windows.

Untrue.  Although window manufacturing industry marketers have insisted that new, replacement windows are more efficient, this is misleading at best.  Study after study has shown that replacing historic windows instead of maintaining them is wasteful and costly for several reasons:
  • The cost of new windows is higher vs. the maintenance of existing windows, significantly so if the homeowner performs his/her own simple maintenance on the existing windows.
  • The increase in the insulating value of a new window is minimal at best.
  • The addition of a storm window to an existing window results in equal or better insulation value compared to a replacement window.
  • Replacement windows are subject to rot and disrepair.
  • Historic windows can last indefinitely when properly maintained.  Replacement windows have a relatively short lifespan.
  • Replacement windows generally cannot be repaired, causing an endless cycle of wasteful, and costly, window replacement within the home owner's lifetime.  Discarded building materials comprise fully one third of all waste generated in the United States every year.
Read more in The Right Thing: Facts and Myths of the Replace vs. Restore Window Debate.

Myth: Old buildings waste energy and can't be fixed or are too expensive to fix.

Untrue.  Again, Donovan Rypkema, economic development consultant and preservationist, says it best:

"Razing historic buildings results in a triple hit on scarce resources. First, we are throwing away thousands of dollars of embodied energy. Second, we are replacing it with materials vastly more consumptive of energy. What are most historic houses built from? Brick, plaster, concrete and timber. What are among the least energy consumptive of materials? Brick, plaster, concrete and timber. What are major components of new buildings? Plastic, steel, vinyl and aluminum. What are among the most energy consumptive of materials? Plastic, steel, vinyl and aluminum. Third, recurring embodied energy savings increase dramatically as a building life stretches over fifty years. You're a fool or a fraud if you say you are an environmentally conscious builder and yet are throwing away historic buildings, and their components."

"Let me put it a different way - if you have a building that lasts 100 years, you could use 25% more energy every year and still have less lifetime energy use than a building that lasts 40 years. And a whole lot of buildings being built today won't last even 40 years."

Read more in The Economic Benefits of Preservation by Donovan Rypkema.

Related Links

Historic Paint Colors & Schemes

California Paints

National Trust for Historic Preservation

Historic Paint Colors, Bob Vila

Benjamin Moore Historic Color Palette

National Register of Historic Places

Offical National Register site

National Register article on Wikipedia

Vinyl Siding

Vinyl Siding, The Real Issues

Siding Maintenance & Repair Resources

Historic Windows

The Right Thing: What are the facts and myths of the replace vs. restore historic windows debate?

Do-It-Yourself Window Repair, from Old House Web

Window Maintenance & Repair Resources

Economic Development, Small Businesses, Sustainability, and Historic Preservation

Economic Benefits of Historic Preservation. A no-nonsense, straightforward explanation of why and how historic preservation stimulates economies and boosts businesses, by Donovan Rypkema.

Economic Benefits of Historic Preservation in Lake City