Community Include

Historic District Survey

The City of Northville is embarking on an intensive-level survey to uncover new information about the historical features and architectural attributes of up to 343 houses and other buildings in the City of Northville’s Historic District, which encompasses some 144 acres (see map). It’s the first study of its kind in 45 years, when a partial survey of 61 historic structures in the district was conducted.

Funding for a portion of the survey is being arranged through a grant from the State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO), with the remainder being funded by the City.

Public Meetings

(updated as meeting dates are determined)

 

Historic Survey Study Project Updates and Questions

Project Updates click here

Questions about the Survey click here

Historic Survey Study Project Materials

 Sept 28 Final Draft
     Study Report Vol I
 Sept 28 Final Draft
     Study Report Vol II
 National Register of Historic
     Places Registration Form
 Northville Transmittal Letter
 SHPO Emails
 Additional Comments
 Sept 2018 Study Report Volume 1
 Sept 2018 Study Report Volume 2
 9/25/18 Meeting Packet
 LHDSC Public Hearing 9/25/18 at 7pm
     Council Chambers
 9/17/18 City Council Status Report
     and Project Update
 7/25/18 Study Report Vol 1 final draft
 7/25/18 Study Report Vol 2 final draft
 7/25/18 Commonwealth Submission letter
 7/19/18 Meeting Minutes
 Study Report - Volume I (184 MB)
 Study Report - Volume II - Full Inventory
     (75 MB)
 6/12/18 Study Committee Meeting Agenda
 6/12/18 - Meeting Minutes
3/1/18 Meeting Video
 3/1/18 - Public Kickoff Meeting Presentation
 3/1/18 - Public Kickoff Meeting Agenda
 3/1/18 - Public Kickoff Meeting Minutes
 RFP Bid Results – Information Only
 RFP Questions and Answers
 RFP Historic District Survey
 Historic District Map

Why is a survey needed?
How will the survey be conducted, what will be reported?
Level of Research
Selection of an Architectural Historian
Local Historic District Study Committee
Project Timeline
Questions About the Survey
Project Updates

Why is a survey needed?

It will uncover new historical data and will provide a basis for local planning. Results will be used to complete a new National Register of Historic Places nomination to update the data in the federal register. The results of the survey will become a permanent record for the City, state and federal government, and will be accessible to the public in a digital format on the City’s website. Reports and digital information will also be provided to the Northville Historical Society for their records at Mill Race Village, and the Northville District Library.

Historic Home
Home on W. Dunlap Street.                                                        Photo by Liz Cezat
A historic survey was last done in 1972, when the tools and techniques used to survey historic districts were rudimentary, compared to today’s detailed and defined reports. As a result, there are gaps in:

  • Completeness – Only 61 of 343 existing properties in the district have been studied to any extent.

  • Historical significance – The era of each property has not been sufficiently recorded.

  • Missing link – The Historic District encompasses both commercial and residential properties. The 1972 survey didn’t include any commercial, industrial or institutional buildings, which also have historic significance. This study will include those buildings. Individually and collectively, the study will help define the historic distinctions of neighborhoods and the commercial district.

  • The Historic District doesn’t know what it doesn’t know – When changes are proposed to unstudied resources, recommendations concerning the property may be skewed due to unknown facts. Knowing what historic elements constitute the property and their historical significance are important metrics.

  • Local Historic District Study Committee Report – A new Local Historic District Study Committee Report will be created. This document will illustrate, in an easy-to-use format, relevant information about various historic properties in the district. Further, it will describe the district and explain why it is significant and unique.

  • Improve preservation of Northville’s historic resources - Having historic information about principal and accessory buildings – whether residential, commercial, institutional or industrial - will help educate the property owner and the community of the relevance of these features, and guide decision-making about how to preserve or modify the structure.

How will the survey be conducted, what will be reported?

The project will be conducted by architectural historians from Commonwealth Heritage Group, out of their Dexter, Michigan office. Properties that are less than 40 years old will be identified, and their date of construction noted. Properties that are more than 40 years old will be researched as described below in the “Level of Research” section.

The types of properties that will be included in the survey are houses and grounds, public buildings (schools and churches), commercial buildings (downtown), parks, factories/mill complexes, and utility structures.

Level of Research

Historic Home
This historic home on N. Wing Street houses Angela Carson photography.

The intensive-level survey methodologies will follow the procedures in SHPO’s Manual for Historical and Architectural Surveys in Michigan, and will include field work, research, evaluation and preparing the report.

The architectural historian will conduct field surveys on all properties. Property records will be kept in a database. Each property will be photographed per the standards for electronic images. The surveyed properties will be mapped in a Geographic Information Systems (GIS) program, and a survey form (Appendix C of the SHPO Survey Manual) will be completed for each historic property provided.

No research beyond the date of construction will be conducted for any properties less than 40 years old unless significant history is easily identified for the property. For properties more than 40 years old, the research will start with the existing information provided in the original survey, and will be upgraded to intensive level for all buildings and features. Research will include use of early maps, directories, tax assessor records, and the collection available at Mill Race Village, Northville’s Historic Park and information repository.

Each surveyed property will then be evaluated for historic significance, based on the National Register of Historic Places Criteria for Evaluation. This determines which resources are historic (contribute) to the district.

The survey report will be drafted, providing a summary of the project, recommendations resulting from the survey, a narrative description of the survey area, and historical significance statement for the district that includes identified historic contexts. A map of the district showing contributing and non-contributing resources will be produced. The completed survey forms will be included in the survey report. An Excel spreadsheet of the properties surveyed by street address and number, that includes the date of construction, architectural style, and eligibility determination, will be included as an appendix in the report. The survey report will be reviewed and approved by the State Historic Preservation Office.

Selection of an Architectural Historian

City Council awarded the project to Commonweath Heritage Group. Their architectural historians have specialized training in identifying and researching historic structures, and preparing the survey reports per the federal guidelines.

Local Historic District Study Committee

As part of this project, and in keeping with the state enabling legislation, City Council appointed a local historic district study committee, comprised of various members of the community including a member of the Historic District Commission, Northville Historical Society, architects, representatives of community organizations, residents and property owners in the Historic District, and residents at large. The study committee will work with the architectural historian during the study and preparation of the reports.

Study Committee Members:

Historic District Commission: James Allen, David Field
Northville Historical Society: Leanie Bayly, Mark Chester
Architect: Robert Miller
Downtown Property Owner: Suzanne Cozart
Resident at Large: Jeff Russell

Project Timeline

June 2017 - City awarded Federal Grant to conduct intensive-level Historic District survey

Aug 9, 2017 - City issues Request for Proposals (RFP) seeking consultants to conduct survey

Sept 5, 2017 - RFP submission deadline

Oct 2, 2017 - City Council awards project to Commonwealth Heritage Group

Nov-Dec 2017 - SHPO review period of consultant contract

Jan 3, 2018 - City Council appoints Local Historic District Study Committee (LHDSC)

Mar 1, 2018 - LHDSC Public Kick-off Meeting (7pm at City Hall)

June 2018 - Consultant and LHDSC public meeting to discuss first draft of report

July 2018 - LHDSC meets to review final draft and approve for transmittal to SHPO

Sept 17, 2018 - Status Report and Project Update to City Council

Sept 25, 2018 – LHDSC holds Public Hearing for LHDSR

Property owners will receive a letter explaining the survey and field study, and be invited to a kickoff meeting. The consultant will conduct the historic resource survey (field work) and prepare report drafts once the survey work has been completed.

Public Input

The project will include several public information meetings to keep residents informed and involved in the survey. The first will be an informational meeting before the survey begins; the second will present a preliminary draft of the survey report and ask for feedback. Based on this input, the survey report will be revised and presented as a final document during a third meeting. That meeting will be a public hearing (e.g. City Council meeting) at which time, the City Council will hear from residents about the final draft before voting on it. Meeting dates will be posted on this page.

Publicity

The City has created this web page to inform residents and property owners about the scope of the survey, and provide status updates. The City will also publicize the survey through:

  • City News, online weekly newsletter

  • Northville Matters, quarterly print publication, which is mailed to all residents

  • Media relations – The City will send out timely press releases to educate the media, and ultimately the public, about the study, needed feedback, and report results.

Questions About the Survey

During the survey process, if you have questions about the survey, please email Historicsurvey@ci.northville.mi.us. Questions will be collected and answers posted on this page on a periodic basis.

Questions Received 8/29/18:

Q: What is specifically on the agenda for the Sept 25th meeting?
A: The Local Historic District Study Committee is holding the September 25th meeting (Public Hearing) to gather public comments on the final draft of the Historic District Study Report.

Q: How will the report impact the properties labeled as “Contributing”?
A: The Report will be used by the Historic District Commission to assist them in evaluating requests from property owners who want to change the exterior of a building in the Historic District. The information in the Report was gathered and developed by professional architectural historians, and provides a professional opinion and guidance as to the historic significance of each building in the Historic District. The Report does not change the current process or authority of the Historic District Commission, which has been in place since the early 1970s when the Historic District was established.

Q: What is the impact to “Contributing” properties moving forward if the Council approves the Survey Report as Final?
A: A “contributing” property or contributing resource is any building, object, or structure which demonstrates historic integrity and adds to the historical or architectural character that makes up a particular historic district. The Historic District Study Report is basis of the establishment of a historic district and guides the Historic District Commission, along with items such as the Secretary of the Interior Standards for Rehabilitation, in its decisions regarding proposed changes to a resource (property, building, structure, site, or object) in the District.

Q: What specific restrictions will be placed on my property if the City Council approves the Survey Report, including modifications or redevelopment?
A: The only change that will result with the adoption of the Historic District Study Report is the revision of the district boundaries to remove some vacant or newly-developed properties at the edge of the District. The new report will not affect the existing Historic Districts Ordinance or other rules and standards currently used by the Historic District Commission. This ordinance and current rules have been in place for many years. Therefore, all properties within the boundaries of the Historic District will continue to be subject to the current rules regarding modifications or redevelopment.

Q: Who do I contact regarding opposing the recommendation of the Survey Report for my property?
A: Comments on the Study Report may be provided to the Local Historic District Study Committee at their September 25, 2018 public hearing. If you can’t attend the meeting, you may also submit comments in writing before the meeting. Written comments may be mailed or dropped off at the Building Department, City of Northville Municipal Building, 215 West Main Street, Northville, Michigan, 48167.

Question received 3/5/18: Will the Historic District Survey information be used by the City Assessor and affect their property assessment in any way?

A: Per the Assessor, the assessing records will be accessible and used by the Historic District Survey project surveyors, and their data will be shared with the Assessing Department. Any information received from the surveyors that appears to be omitted from the Assessing Department’s records will be reviewed and the records updated to correct any discrepancies. This will mean additions and/or losses in the assessed value may occur by use of, and reviewing the information shared.

Project Updates

Sept 27

The Local Historic District Study Committee held a public hearing on September 25 to receive public comment on the Historic District Survey Study Report. Approximately 40 people attended and several people addressed the Study Committee. Written comments submitted to the Building Department were also reviewed.

After receiving and discussing the public comment, the Study Committee voted to make changes to the Report. Commonwealth Heritage Group will make the changes requested by the Study Committee, and the draft “final” document will be posted in the Project Materials section of this webpage. A hard copy will also be available for review at the Building Department.

To review the “final” document, the Study Committee also moved to schedule another public hearing. A public hearing date will be determined, and the public hearing notice will be published and posted on this webpage. Public hearing notices will be mailed to Historic District real property owners and residents.

Written comments to the Study Committee may be submitted to City Clerk, City of Northville, 215 W. Main Street, Northville, Michigan, 48167, or to historicsurvey@ci.northville.mi.us. All written comments must be received by 3pm the day of the public hearing for distribution to the Study Committee. Written comments may also be presented in person to the Study Committee during the public hearing.

Sep 17

Commonwealth Heritage gave a brief presentation to City Council, summarizing the project work that has been completed, and the completion and adoption process for each document created by the survey. The products created by Commonwealth include: 1) Intensive Level Survey Report, 2) Local Historic District Study Report, and 3) National Register Nomination. View the presentation here.

The Study Committee will hold a public hearing on September 25 at 7pm at City Hall. The purpose of the public hearing is to receive public comment on the 2018 Local Historic District Study Report.

July 25

Commonwealth Heritage Group completed the final draft of the Local Historic District Study Report for the Northville Historic District. The document is available in the Historic Survey Study Project Materials box at the top of this page. A hard copy is also available for review at the Building Department.

Public comment on the draft report may be submitted to historicsurvey@ci.northville.mi.us.

The final draft of the Local Historic District Study Report was also submitted to the Michigan State Historic Preservation Office.

The Local Historic District Study Committee will conduct a public hearing at 7pm on September 25, 2018 at City Hall. The public is invited to attend.

July 11

Commonwealth Heritage Group completed the second draft of the Local Historic District Study Report for the Northville Historic District, incorporating comments from the State Historic Preservation Office and the Local Historic District Study Committee (LHDSC). The document is available in the Historic Survey Study Project Materials box at the top of this webpage. A hard copy is also available for review at the Building Department.

The LHDSC will meet at 7pm on July 19 at City Hall to review the draft report. Public comment on the draft report may be submitted to Historicsurvey@ci.northville.mi.us.

May 15

The photography field work is complete. The Historic Survey Team will still be in the field to take GPS points for every property. This will likely happen in the next few weeks. It is anticipated the Local Historic District Study Committee will meet the week of June 18. A meeting notice will be posted on this page when the meeting date is set.

Mar 19

Last week, the Historic Survey Team began photographing the properties in the Historic District. This part of the project should continue through this week. The project consultants have also begun their background research, which includes gathering materials on the individual properties. On March 1, the public kickoff meeting was held. A copy of the presentation and the meeting video may be found at the top of this webpage.

Feb 22 – Historic District Survey Field Work Update

Provided the area remains “snow free,” the Historic District Survey team plans to begin its survey of the properties in the Northville Historic District during the week of March 5th.

The survey team of 1-2 historians will be identified with a City-issued ID Badge, and will be wearing yellow vests for safety. They will be carrying a camera, and may also have a clipboard and Global Positioning System (GPS) unit. Please keep checking back for updates.

Jan 31 - Historic District Survey Field Work Update

The Historic District Survey team will begin visiting properties in the Northville Historic District when there is no longer snow on the ground. Because each property needs to be photographed from the street/public sidewalk, standards for the Historic District Study Report require the ground be visible, so a clear understanding of the building/structure/site/objects/setting can be gained.

It’s estimated that once the snow is gone, the actual field work will take approximately 5-10 days to survey all the properties in the District. The survey team of 1-2 historians will be identified with a City-issued ID Badge, and will be wearing yellow vests for safety. They will be carrying a camera, and may also have a clipboard and Global Positioning System (GPS) unit. The actual dates of the field work will be posted to this webpage once they are known. Please keep checking back for updates.

Main Street home
128 E. Main Street
Old Village School District
405 W. Main Street - Old Village School