Housing & Neighborhoods
Create a diverse housing stock in quality and connected neighborhoods, to serve existing residents as their housing needs change and to attract new residents of all incomes and age groups.
- In Progress
Expand the downtown façade program or create a comparable program to include grant funds and/or low-interest loans for improvements to residential structures in the City’s core.
Currently, the Lebanon Historic Preservation Commission funds building improvements with a cost sharing grant program, but the property must have commercial activity as its primary purpose. A comparable program to fund residential improvements outside of the Lebanon Downtown Historic District should be developed. This program will likely have to be administered through a different commission or department, but the goals are similar, to preserve and protect existing properties, enhance property values, and attract new residents to areas that may otherwise not see investment.
Create incentives for mixed-density residential infill and rehabilitation on vacant and under-utilized lots, for projects that complement and enhance surrounding neighborhoods.
Residential infill development can be challenging because of the scattered nature of lots, outdated infrastructure, or increased construction costs. City incentives and programs could be used to help offset some of these challenges. The City could establish a revolving loan fund, similar to what is frequently used to fund small business expansion and development, to help with gap financing or to meet the additional down payment requirements of a construction or construction-to-permanent loan. Another residential infill incentive is to reduce permitting or utility connection fees for these lots.
Expand the existing historic district or create new districts to be used in protecting older housing stock, ensuring improvements are respectful of adjacent properties, and offering programs to assist owners in maintenance and upkeep.
The Lebanon Downtown Historic District applies primarily to the courthouse square and surrounding commercial core. A certificate of appropriateness (COA) is required for any alteration or demolition of structures within the district. New districts, for the areas surrounding the downtown that are comprised of more residential structures, could be useful in defining appropriate maintenance and rehabilitation efforts to protect valuable housing character. These new districts could then be used in conjunction with existing or new maintenance and rehabilitation programs.
Use targeted City investments in transportation and utility infrastructure, landscapes, and lighting to catalyze private investment in the City’s historic neighborhoods.
Older neighborhoods often find themselves with dated infrastructure in need of repair or replacement. These infrastructure deficiencies can detract from neighborhood character and prevent private investment. The City should strategically invest in targeted neighborhoods to exhibit a commitment to these neighborhoods in hopes of attracting additional landowner and developer investment in area properties.
Ensure opportunities for the creation of diverse housing options for first-time buyers, repeat buyers, and renters both with the future land use plan and unified development ordinance.
Many newer subdivisions contain a homogenous housing stock that caters to one particular market segment. However, individuals rarely have the same housing needs or preferences through their entire life and may find they need to relocate outside of their neighborhood or community to meet these changing needs. Integrating different housing styles and types within the community can have a huge impact on the long-term viability of neighborhoods and the ability of Lebanon residents to stay in the community as they age.
Assist with the creation of neighborhood groups to improve communication with the City and coordinate beautification, crime prevention, and other improvements.
The historic homes and older neighborhoods around downtown Lebanon are organized in a regular grid street pattern. As such, identifying where one neighborhood stops and the next starts can be difficult. The City of Lebanon should begin encouraging and facilitating the creation of neighborhood organizations to improve communication and coordination with City officials. These organizations can help to establish a sense of belonging and be used as an official mechanism for residents to share community concerns or goals with City leaders.
Ensure new housing developments contribute to overall community character through the provision of open spaces, trails, landscaping, and other amenities.
As new subdivisions and apartments are developed, they will primarily be designed for the future residents of that neighborhood or apartment community. Equally important, however, is how these developments contribute to existing City character. New developments should be designed to add to the community open space and trail network and include landscape plantings that enhance the visual quality of the area.
Limit the conversion of single family homes into duplexes or multi-family apartments, and consider incentives for returning structures that have been split into multiple units back in to single family residences.
The conversion of single family homes into two or more units in primarily single family neighborhoods can have negative impacts on surrounding homes. Single family lots are typically sized and organized to accommodate vehicles and provide open space for one unit. As additional units are created, the exterior use and character of the property often begins to change. Residential rehabilitation incentives recommended elsewhere in this plan could be used to promote conversion of multi-unit structures back to single family use.
Increase code and parking enforcement to ensure public safety and improve the visual appearance of City neighborhoods.
An effective means of stabilizing property values and creating quality neighborhoods is by ensuring the good maintenance of buildings and lots. Unfortunately, when properties are not adequately maintained, the City may have to get involved through code enforcement. This is typically a resource intensive process that involves City staff and legal counsel. The City should periodically focus efforts on widespread or recurring issues, first with an information campaign, then notices to owners of property that are violating codes, and finally formal violation tickets, if necessary. More active code enforcement will show property owners that the City is serious about its appearance and hopefully elevate property maintenance city-wide.
Connect neighborhoods to shopping, employment, and recreation destinations through the construction of multi-use paths, sidewalks, and bicycle facilities.
Lebanon should expand the multi-use trail, sidewalk, and bicycle networks to better connect neighborhoods to the downtown, recreational facilities like Memorial Park, and employment centers. Bicycling and walking are health and recreational activities, but also sometimes one’s only means of transportation. They are critical to maintaining the high quality of life residents so greatly desire. When planning for these facilities, it is important to consider the context within which the trail, path, or sidewalk will be located, and the design standards that are offered by organizations such as the National Association of City Transportation Officials (NACTO).