Board approves two of three historic districts

June 19, 2013 10:20:33 AM

Carl Smith - [email protected]


Starkville aldermen established the Greensboro and Nash Street Historic Districts Tuesday but declined to create the Overstreet Historic District after Ward 4 Alderman Richard Corey said that specific area's boundaries could be redrawn in the future to alleviate issues. 


Prior to discussion on the matter, Ward 7 Alderman Henry Vaughn attempted to pull the three districts' adoption off the agenda, but his request was blocked by Ward 5 Alderman Jeremiah Dumas. Vaughn also made a motion to hold a July public hearing to discuss repealing the enabling ordinance which empowers the Starkville Historic Preservation Commission, but that move died at the table without a second. 


Historic district establishment also brings design standards unanimously approved by HPC members in February. During public hearings on each of the historic districts, supporters said the act would help preserve their neighborhoods as Starkville continues growing. Opponents, however, said government should not encroach on the control they have over their properties. 


Under the design guidelines, exterior changes -- additions, alterations or demolitions/relocations - require HPC approval through a process utilizing certificates of appropriateness (COA). Exterior maintenance and interior maintenance or alterations do not require HPC approval. 


Tuesday's Greensboro Historic District public hearing yielded five supporters and one opponent who all live in the now-designated area, while three out-of-neighborhood residents spoke against the measure and four other proponents were recognized. 


A survey conducted by historic district supporters showed about 65 percent of polled residents favor establishing guidelines to preserve their neighborhood, Greensboro resident Jamie Mixon said. The survey reached out to residents associated with 46 parcels. Thirty replied in support, Mixon said, while four residents opposed the action. In all, 12 residents accounted for indifferent or non-replies, she said. 


Another informal study for the Nash Street neighborhood yielded similar support for that historic district's establishment, HPC Commissioner Maxine Hamilton said. Sixty-four percent of responding residents were in favor of the Nash Street Historic District, she said, while only seven percent dissented. That seven percent, Hamilton told the board, represented only one property owner. 


Aldermen first approved the Greensboro Street Historic District by a 4-2 vote - Vaughn and Ward 3 Alderman Eric Parker cast 'Nay' votes - after Ward 1 Alderman Ben Carver said his decision would rest with how his constituents felt. Carver then joined the two dissenting aldermen in a 3-3 tie for the Nash Street Historic District, but Mayor Parker Wiseman broke the deadlock with an affirmative vote. 


Ward 6 Alderman Roy A. Perkins was absent from Tuesday's meeting.

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