The City Council voted unanimously Tuesday night to add 14 buildings to its local register of historic resources. The decision more than quadruples the size of the local list from four to 18 structures.
A wide variety of buildings was selected. Among them is the Standard Oil Building on Penn Street, an early 1900s example of a corporate office building. Also included are the Philadelphia street bank building in which former President Richard M. Nixon once practiced law, and homes dating back to the 1880s.
The Whittier Cultural Arts Commission and the Planning Commission winnowed down the final nominees from a list of more than 75 buildings. The designation provides the structures protection from significant alteration and demolition. Major architectural changes must be approved by the city. And before a demolition permit can be issued, there must be a 180-day waiting period. During that six-month moratorium, the property owner and the city are supposed to explore options to save the building.
Although the designation limits the property rights of an owner, it also entitles them to significant property-tax savings under state law, said Elvin Porter, the city's planning director.