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Preservation board considers ordinance for historic district

 

Carmen K. Sisson

 

Members of the Columbus Historic Preservation Commission continued discussion Wednesday night of a proposed ordinance defining guidelines for the Southside district.  

 

Commission members said creating an ordinance would benefit homeowners by protecting the architectural integrity and historic charm of the neighborhood.  

 

Ward 1 Councilman Gene Taylor and Ward 5 Councilman Kabir Karriem attended the meeting, along with several Southside homeowners.  

 

"We don''t want to make living in Southside a hardship," Commission Chairman John Hudson said, adding that the community will be involved in every step of creating the design guidelines. "It''s just something we need to do to protect our community. It really is good for the neighbors. But we don''t want to make it so harsh that you can''t do anything." 

 

Commission member Betty Miller said she lives in the district, and she has received a number of emails from concerned residents, particularly about whether the ordinance would seek to control paint colors.  

 

"I don''t want to get into colors, and I would be opposed to anybody dictating the color you can paint your house," Miller said, adding that she would also oppose any guidelines that were costly or would present an undue burden on homeowners. 

 

"It will be a slow process," Hudson added. "It''s not going to happen tomorrow. It''s mainly to protect you all than for us to sit up here and make guidelines ... all we can do is put it on the table, and if Southside residents don''t want it, I guess we won''t have it." 

 

No action was taken Wednesday night due to the absence of several commission members. If an ordinance is drawn up, it would have to be approved by the City Council.  

 

After the meeting, Karriem said he just wanted to get a better understanding of why the commission members feel the ordinance is needed.  

 

"I''m just weighing the pros and cons," Karriem said.  

 

Dan Sisson, who owns a century-old Victorian home on Second Street in Southside, said he is in favor of the proposed ordinance, calling it "very important." 

 

"It should have been done years ago," Sisson said.  

 

The boundaries of the proposed ordinance would be College Street, Mississippi University for Women, the railroad tracks and the river. MUW would not be included in the district, but wards 1, 2 and 5 would be affected. 

 

The area was listed in the National Register of Historic Places in the early 1980s.  

 

The commission''s next meeting is Aug. 1 at 5:30 p.m. at City Hall.

 

Carmen K. Sisson is the former news editor at The Dispatch.

 

 

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