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Planning Commission Approves Amendments to City’s Historic Preservation Ordinance

Published on Monday, January 17, 2022 | 5:00 am

The Planning Commission in its recent meeting voted unanimously to approve proposed amendments to the city’s Historic Preservation Ordinance (HPO), which became effective in April.

The commission adopted all the recommendations listed in the staff report except for the recommendation to specify window replacement as a minor project unless two or more changes to the original window design are proposed.

The commission decided to require that even a single change to window design should go before the Historic Preservation Commission (HPC) for evaluation. They agreed that this is a necessary requirement, as this will serve as a deterrent to people who want to change the character defining feature of their windows.

The commission also decided to include in the ordinance a provision that mandates the conduct of city wide surveys to broaden the application and determination of eligible landmark districts in the city.

Additionally, the ordinance adopted by the commission will also “limit the Historic Resource Evaluation (HRE) requirement to evaluations for individual eligibility only and not landmark or historic district eligibility.”

The HPO, which became effective last year, requires an HRE of neighborhoods for Landmark District eligibility in response to a proposed demolition or major alteration project.

Prior to the effectiveness of the ordinance, the establishment of landmark districts was a process initiated and proposed by property owners in a neighborhood.

City staff earlier said amendments to the HPO are necessary to return the landmark district process to a “neighborhood-driven process.”

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