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Preservationists accelerate plans

July 27, 2012


The Starkville Historic Preservation made minor adjustments Tuesday to a new draft of historic preservation guidelines and called for a special meeting Aug. 13 to compete the guideline evaluation process before the grant paying for the guidelines’ creation expires.

City Planner Ben Griffith said the city of Starkville first received a grant from the Mississippi Heritage Trust for MHT Executive Director David Preziosi to write design guidelines for historic buildings in fall 2011, when the fiscal year began. The grant concludes with the fiscal year, he said, making it necessary for the HPC to finish work with Preziosi by the end of August.

“We’re at a little bit of a disadvantage because the HPC meets at the end of the month,” Griffith said. “That’s why we’re having this special meeting.”

This does not mean the Starkville Board of Aldermen will need to approve the guidelines themselves before the end of August, Griffith said, but it will need to approve Preziosi’s payment at its Aug. 21 meeting. When the guidelines go before the aldermen, he said, a series of public hearings will ensue, giving the public the chance to give feedback on the guidelines before the aldermen approve or reject them.

Griffith said MHT also gave the city a grant in Fall 2011 for Preziosi to resurvey the Overstreet School National Historic District, last surveyed in the 1990s. He said the commission unanimously voted to approve paying Preziosi for this service Tuesday.

Commission chair Michael Fazio said Vicki Myers, MHT Certified Local Government Coordinator, suggested a few changes to the resurvey before its approval, but the changes were minor enough for the commission to go ahead and approve Preziosi’s payment.

“David is going to either actually show up up here and physically make the final documentation, or he’ll call Ben, and Ben would, on (Preziosi’s) direction over the phone, make the final changes,” Fazio said. “It’s little things like whether there’s an outbuilding in some yards that’s been demolished, that kind of thing.”

Fazio said the changes to the new guidelines draft the commission discussed were also minor. He said Preziosi plans to submit a copy with these changes made in the middle of next week, letting commissioners read it line by line before the final evaluation.

“The principal thing was just a final table of contents ... organization of the document,” Fazio said. “It was actually Briar Jones who proposed the final organization. It involved moving the section on the history of Starkville into an appendix and moving the (certificate of appropriateness) chart to the front. It was consistent with (previous commission statements about) making the document as accessible as possible.”

Fazio also said the commission put forward a tentative name for the guidelines: “Standards For Starkville’s Historic Districts.” Commissioner Tom Walker said the commission will wait until its August 13 meeting to vote on this name.

“We just wanted everyone to think about it,” Walker said. “There were some very good ideas. Once we make the name... it’s virtually impossible to change. We want everyone to agree on it.”

The meeting went smoothly, Walker said, with no controversy and all commissioners present.

“Everybody at the meeting was in total agreement about what we were doing,” Walker said. “I would expect the special meeting will come to a conclusion on the document and we’ll be prepared to send it forward.”

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