There is definitely more than could be written, but I'm not sure I'm qualified or have thought enough about it to write it.1. Does the concept of a historic district have value? That is, is it enough to just preserve the important historic buildings, or do we also need to control the new construction around them in order to give them a sympathetic setting?
Because I would say I get the desire to declare a district where there is a high-concentration of what would otherwise be preserved individually anyway. Like, maybe the Warehouse District makes sense.
But then again, I'm not really sure why what's next to a given warehouse matters. If they's not a high enough concentration of actual historic buildings to retain the overall historic tone, then what does the district actually accomplish anyway? If there are, why does the occasional non-conforming building matter? And does building something new as a faux-replica really help?
I think this is the crux of the question, but I can't say it was drawn incorrectly, because I don't know what the thinking was at the time. What I do know is that how things stand now, it doesn't make much sense to include this block.2. Should this site be in the historic district? This seems to be the stronger argument, and the article lays out a pretty convincing case that it shouldn't be, but never actually says that the problem is that the historic district boundaries were drawn incorrectly.
Where I would go farther today than when I was writing yesterday is to say this: these district guidelines are worthless if they allow the suburban-style townhouses across the street. A broken street grid and cloistered private homes do far more damage to the historical fabric of the area than would a tower on a quarter-block.