Kensington values its heritage and works actively to maintain it. As a Montgomery County Historic District, Kensington is under the protection of the Historic Preservation Ordinance, which is Chapter 24A of the Montgomery County Code. The county’s Historic Preservation Commission (HPC), a board of citizen volunteers appointed by the County Executive and charged with upholding the Ordinance, reminds us:
“We are custodians of the buildings, sites, and structures that define our history. They do not belong to us alone. They have belonged to those who came before us. With our firm commitment to their continued existence, they will belong to those who come after us . . .
“There is quite a bit of work you can do to a historic property without involving the HPC. This includes interior work, gardening, customary farming operations, or ordinary exterior maintenance – which means work that doesn’t alter the exterior frame.
“Your only contact with the HPC is likely to come when work you want to do requires a Historic Area Work Permit (HAWP). You need this permit to move, demolish, or alter the exterior of a house, building, or other structure listed on the Master Plan for Historic Preservation, or located in a Master Plan historic district. This includes changes that can’t be seen from the street. A HAWP is also required for new construction, grading, and removing live trees. . . .” (Reprinted from “Montgomery County Remembers,” Historic Preservation Commission, 1992).
The provisions of the Ordinance are not onerous when one considers the value of preserving the historic, small town feeling of Kensington. Anyone in the Historic District contemplating changes to a structure or its facade may obtain the necessary information from the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission and the Montgomery County Historic Preservation Commission:
301-563-3400, address: Historic Preservation Commission, 8787 Georgia Avenue, Silver Spring, MD 20910).
The Kensington Land Trust
Nestled as it is in the midst of a growing metropolitan area, Kensington is under constant pressure for development. The open spaces that define its historic character as a Victorian garden suburb are particularly alluring to developers. The town has already been subjected to several contentious disputes over infill development in side-yard gardens. The Kensington Land Trust seeks to avoid these disputes by offering landowners a way to ensure that their land remains open and green. The Land Trust, a private nonprofit organization committed to the preservation of open space in Kensington, enables property owners to conserve their land by granting open space easements that restrict inappropriate development on that land.
Further information may be obtained from:
Kensington Land Trust,
P.O. Box 602, Kensington, MD 20895.