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HPC could send historic district design standards to aldermen

 

Carl Smith

 

Today, Starkville's Historic Preservation Commission could recommend the nomination and adoption of three historic districts and their related design standards to the city board of aldermen. 

 

The commission meets 5:30 p.m. today in the City Hall Courtroom. 

 

With aldermen approval, the city would designate Greensboro Street, Nash Street and Overstreet as three historic districts and set rules for changes to structures' exteriors in an effort to preserve the areas' historic characteristics. 

 

An agenda and e-packet available at cityofstarkville.org/index.aspx?nid=100 detail the proposed ordinances. Aldermen have the final say in enacting historic districts and maps. 

 

Ward 4 Alderman Richard Corey, the board's HPC liaison, said these standards are the result of an almost-four-year, citizen-driven process. Other cities across the state, including Columbus, have taken similar measures to preserve historically designated neighborhoods, he said. 

 

"These recommendations show Starkville is serious about preserving our history," Corey said. "Also, they could have a direct impact on property values. There is definitely money out there for the restoration of older homes."  

 

A number of Starkville residents voiced both their support for and objections to the district's proposed standards during a Jan. 22 public hearing on the matter. 

 

As stated by the group's unapproved minutes from that meeting, Greensboro Street resident Tom Carskadon said he believes the ordinance is an abrogation of property owners' rights and there is no compelling government interest to adopt design standards. He also expressed concerns over safety measures that could come from the inability to make design changes to features like windows, the minutes continue. Public safety requirements, Carskadon said according to the minutes, should trump aesthetics and historic significance.  

 

Commissioner Tom Walker said in that meeting he did not believe the potential standards would impede safety, the minutes state. 

 

Kim Stevens, a Hogan Street resident, said she also opposed the commission, the minutes state. 

 

Two South Jackson Street residents, Robert Leach and Robert McMillian, supported the commission's efforts, the minutes state. Leach said he believes proactive involvement is good for the area, while McMillian said he believes there are tangible benefits to adopting historic guidelines. 

 

Eleven Starkville residents signed an attendance sheet for the Jan. 22 public hearing.

 

Carl Smith covers Starkville and Oktibbeha County for The Dispatch. Follow him on Twitter @StarkDispatch

 

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