Historic changes for the better

If ever there was an example of giving residents the power to take the future of their neighborhoods into their own hands, look no further than Glendale.

In just a few short years after overhauling the city's historic districting process, 635 homes have successfully achieved the protected status, with the largest such district all but approved this week. Another 237 are currently under review.

Since the applications are all driven and initiated by residents, clearly there is popular support for the districts, so long as cities set reasonable benchmarks.

Thankfully, Burbank this week took the same approach, deciding to set the level of buy-in among affected homeowners at simple majority rather than the arduous 75% level recommended by the Planning Board.

Since the rules restricting changes to historic-district homes largely only cover their facades, it's hard to see why residents who bought into a neighborhood because of its look and feel wouldn't want to preserve those qualities. And who are city officials to stand in their way?

After all, it's that charm and historic beauty that contribute to Burbank and Glendale being such desirable places to live. And if residents are willing and able to take the lead in protecting that, clearly the approach being taken by local government is — rightfully — “all the power to them.”

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