Historic Preservation in Kenmore is administered by the City with technical assistance from the King County Historic Preservation Program through an interlocal agreement between the City and County. The King County Historic Preservation Program maintains an inventory of over 1,000 historic resources located throughout the County. Development proposals for resources listed in the inventory in Kenmore are circulated by the City to the King County Historic Preservation Officer for review and comment. Sites in Kenmore which are included in the Inventory of Historic Landmarks include:
Of the above sites included in the Inventory, the Kenmore Bridge is considered ineligible for Local Landmark status due to alterations and loss of historic integrity. Saint Edward Seminary is eligible for Local Landmark status and is already listed on the State of Washington Heritage Register and National Register of Historic Places.
The Charles M. Thomsen Estate is a designated Local Landmark in Kenmore and may also be eligible for the Washington Heritage Register or the National Register. The Thomsen House was built in 1927 in the French Provincial Style. While the vast majority of Period Revival style residences in King County are located in Seattle, the handful of Period Revival homes in other areas of the County consist of variations of the English Cottage and Colonial Revival Styles. The Thomsen Estate is notable as it is the only known example of a rural residence constructed in the French Provincial Style and it is considered to be in good condition with many original features.
Other eligible properties are likely within the City but additional historic surveys and analysis are necessary. For example, the 1993 Northshore Community Plan Update and Area Zoning listed other sites which may be considered for inclusion in the Inventory include the Inglewood Country Club Clubhouse and Log Cabin Apartments.
Benefits of landmark designation can include eligibility for grant funds for building rehabilitation from the County, special valuation under State tax abatement legislation, and eligibility for technical assistance from the King County Landmarks Commission. Controls include restriction on altering any significant feature identified in a Landmark Designation Report, regardless of whether a building permit is required, without first obtaining a Certificate of Appropriateness from the Landmarks Commission, except for in-kind maintenance and repair.
Historic Property Survey
An historic property reconnaissance-level survey report of approximately 100 properties in Kenmore was conducted in 2010-2011. This survey was funded by a National Park Service Grant administered by the Washington Department of Archaeology and Historic Preservation. The grant was applied for by King County on behalf of the City. The survey had a specific focus on mid-twentieth century properties. Any property built before 1976 was eligible for the survey, as properties over 40 years old are eligible for consideration for Local Landmark status. In addition to the mid-century properties, the survey documented properties identified by the Kenmore Heritage Society in its book Kenmore by the Lake: A Community History and updated records for buildings that have been surveyed previously. Read the complete September 2011 Historic Property Reconnaissance-Level Survey Report here.
Landmark Nomination & Designation Process
Anyone may nominate a building, site, object, structure, or district for consideration as a Kenmore Landmark. The following steps are required to complete the nomination process:
- Local Landmark Nomination Application is completed and filed with the City. Once determined complete by City staff, the application will be forwarded to King County Historic Preservation Program (HPP) for technical review.
- HPP staff schedule a public hearing before the Kenmore Landmarks Commission to consider the nomination.
At the public hearing, the Commission receives evidence and hears arguments as to whether or not the nominated property meets the designation criteria. In order to be designated, a nominated property must:
- Be more than 40 years old.
- Possess integrity of location, design, setting, materials, workmanship, feeling, and association; and
Meet at least one of the following criteria:
- Be associated with events that have made a significant contribution to the broad patterns of national, state, or local history; or
- Be associated with the life of a person or persons significant in national, state, or local history; or
- Embody the distinctive characteristics of a type, period, style, or method of design or construction, or represent a significant and distinguishable entity whose components may lack individual distinction; or
- Be an outstanding work of a designer or builder who has made a substantial contribution to the art; or
- Yield or be likely to yield information important in prehistory or history.
If the Commission determines that the property meets the designation criteria, it identifies what elements of the property will be subject to design review. These elements, called "features of significance," typically include the exterior of the property only if it is a building, and the parcel on which it is sited. If significant historic interior features are present, interior spaces may also be designated as features of significance.
When a property is designated, the design controls go into effect immediately, and the property owner becomes eligible to apply for incentive programs. If the determination is negative, the proceedings are terminated. A designation report is issued approving or rejecting the nomination within 14 calendar days of the public meeting at which the decision is made. The designation report is filed with the County Recorder, property owner, applicant, and all other parties of record.