The Upside of Historic District Living in Bellevue, Kentucky
Our listing at 326 Fairfield Avenue, Bellevue, Kentucky is a delightful mixture of Late Victorian and Arts & Crafts styles. Built in 1910, this single family home is nestled in the midst of Bellevue’s Fairfield Avenue Historic District. The historic district includes buildings along both sides of Fairfield Avenue/Kentucky Route 8 and extends from Lafayette Avenue to O’Fallon Avenue.
Fairfield Avenue–or the “Avenue” as it has simply been called–has been Bellevue’s main thoroughfare and commercial artery from the time the city was incorporated in 1870.
Historic buildings along Fairfield Avenue date from circa 1880 to 1933 and include a range of architectural styles such as Italianate, Queen Anne, early 20th Century Commercial, and Art Deco. While most of the buildings within the historic district are commercial, there is a surprising number of residences (our listing at 326 Fairfield Avenue is certainly not an exception!).
The historical development of Fairfield Avenue was influenced by its unique topography.
The northern side of the street is level and part of the Ohio River terrace. Buildings on this side of the street have little-to-no setback as a result.
The south side of Fairfield Avenue is marked by a sharp uprise. This resulted in residences being built on the crest of the slope and with deep front yards–distancing these homes from the “hub-bub” of the street. Most of the more substantial historic homes are located on this side. 326 Fairfield Avenue is one of them–it sits up and well back from the sidewalk and street.
Commercial buildings, regardless of which side of the street they are located on, sit at the front of the property lot for greater visibility and easy access.
The Fairfield Avenue Historic District is both a locally-designated and National Register of Historic Places district (NRHP # 88000100). It also happens to be Bellevue’s very successful Main Street district (a participant in the Main Street America program that aims to revitalize historic commercial districts). On top of that, the City of Bellevue is a Certified Local Government (CLG). The CLG program creates local, state, and federal partnerships promoting historic preservation planning and protection at the local level. All of these designations trigger additional upsides for Fairfield Avenue homeowners.
One of the biggest upsides has to do with property value. Homes in a historic district typically increase in value by 5-35% per decade compared to values in similar, undesignated neighborhoods. Local historic district designation also decreases investment uncertainty and insulates property values from big swings in the housing market (Think real estate bubble!).
As any homeowner knows, a rise in property value equals an increase in property taxes. Within historic districts designated at the national or state level, this can be offset by state and federal tax reduction programs. These programs also provide alternatives to demolition of historic homes, thereby providing stability to the built environments of neighborhoods. Bellevue’s CLG certification, in particular, opens up specific funding, technical assistance, and other resources that can benefit homeowners.
Proposed exterior renovations, demolitions, and new construction in locally designated historic districts are reviewed by neighborhood advisory groups and historical commissions. This ensures community involvement in neighborhood planning. The City of Bellevue has its own set of historic preservation design guidelines, which functions to protect buildings within the district from particular alterations and demolitions through the Certificate of Appropriateness (COA) process.
As you can see, owning a home in the Fairfield Avenue Historic District is much more than being located on the upside or south side of the street!