Preservation Commission approves guidelines for historic districts

February 27, 2013 9:50:25 AM

Carl Smith - [email protected]


The Starkville Historic Preservation Commission voted unanimously to submit to city aldermen its previously agreed upon recommendations establishing three historic districts' design guidelines. 


The motion came after three individual property representatives asked commissioners to remove their homes from the districts, freeing them from possible future design standards. 


It is unknown when Starkville aldermen will take up the proposed ordinances, but the board will hold public forums before acting on the matter. The board also has final say in proposed city code. 


The commission previously voted to nominate Greensboro Street, Nash Street and Overstreet districts as historic areas as authorized by the historic preservation ordinance.  


Under the design guidelines, exterior changes - additions, alterations or demolitions/relocations - require Starkville Historic Preservation Committee approval through a process analyzing and producing a certificate of appropriateness (COA), a flowchart accompanying the HPC's online agenda states. Exterior maintenance and interior maintenance or alterations, that same chart states, do not require COAs. 


Other projects are listed in a quick reference guide accompanying the e-packet. For example, the guide states home siding painting projects do not require COA approval, but changing siding material from wood to brick veneer or stucco does. The installation of vinyl or aluminum siding over a building's original siding is not allowed under the standards for Starkville's historic districts. 


The guide covers numerous hypothetical scenarios involving door, roof, window, shutter, awning and porch projects, additions and new construction. 


The flowchart, quick reference guide and maps detailing the historic districts can be found at 


If approved, COA applications will be available at City Hall's Planning Department. Applicants or authorized representatives would be required to attend public SHPC meetings to discuss the application. 


Before unanimously approving the proposed ordinances, commissioners took three requests from property representatives under advisement. Those representatives said they wished to have their properties removed from the historic districts for reasons ranging from their homes' lack of historic significance to the simple desire not to be placed under new development guidelines. 


Commission Chairman Michael Fazio told an audience of less than 10 people that the group has not granted any exemptions from the proposed historic districts. Commissioners, he said, spent a great amount of time determining where historic boundaries stop and start. 


"The districts we ended up with are the most compact ... (There are) no arms grabbing properties, no notches," he said. 


Fazio also said wishing for a property to not be included in the historic districts was not enough to remove a parcel. 


"Simply hearing someone say, 'I don't want to be in,' would be no different than someone saying (they did)," he said. 


In a Jan. 22 HPC public hearing, a small number of residents spoke out against and in favor of the design standards. Eleven Starkville residents signed an attendance sheet during that meeting. 


Monday, Ward 4 Alderman Richard Corey, the board's HPC liaison, said the commission's final product represents an almost-four-year, citizen-driven process.  


Ward 5 Alderman Jeremiah Dumas said he must study the commission's recommendation before commenting on its specifics. Enhanced protection of Starkville's historic districts and the structures which contribute to them, both he and Corey said, is an important task. 


"I'm looking forward to these recommendations coming to us," Dumas said. "The good thing about Starkville is that there were a lot of talented people working on this project. (HPC members) are extremely knowledgeable in this area."

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