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HPC talks strategy to inform citizens

September 26, 2012

By STEVEN NALLEY
educ@starkvilledailynews.com

The Starkville Historic Preservation Commission discussed methods for disseminating information about its proposed local historic districts at its meeting Tuesday, but it did not set concrete dates for meetings in the Overstreet, Greensboro and Nash Street neighborhoods targeted for historic districts.

Commission chair Michael Fazio said property owners would receive notice in the coming weeks, and commissioner Cyndi Sullivan said the Starkville Central Neighborhood Foundation will also be distributing flyers for the Overstreet district meeting, tentatively set for Oct. 25 at Overstreet School. Fazio said he also met earlier on Tuesday with realtors at Coldwell Banker, and he plans to also meet with Prudential and ERA realtors in the near future.

“I got question this morning, (such as) ‘Is there a fee involved in the certificate of appropriateness process?’ (and) ‘Would it be more expensive (for homeowners with the local historic districts in place?)’” Fazio said. “My answer (to the latter quesiton) would be no. Doing something properly is not going to be more expensive following the guidelines than not.”

Fazio said he brought hard copies of a quick reference flowchart, a certificate of appropriateness form and a table of contents from the guidelines for the realtors, but there were more than he anticipated. The commission briefly discussed the relative merits of distributing such materials digitally instead of physically, leading Fazio to ask city planner Ben Griffith if the HPC had funds to create multiple print copies.

“We have a little bit ... for advertisement,” Griffith said. “Our budget got pretty well wiped out matching the grant for (a resurvey of) Overstreet, but in October, it’s a new fiscal year.”

Fazio eventually chose to use e-mail, he said, because it would present no costs. The commission also discussed whether or not to use maps of the present districts on the National Register of Historic Places to illustrate boundaries of the proposed local districts to interested parties. Fazio and other commissioners have said in the past that the local districts’ boundaries do not necessarily have to match those of the national districts, but commissioner Briar Jones said he saw no harm in using the maps.

“It’s not hard to create a shaded map (of a national district) using the tax map,” Jones said. “It’s a national register district. It’s a cultural resource for Starkville, Miss. that does exist and is acknowledged as fact. Whether the city approves (the local districts) or not, those (national districts) exist.”

Finally, Fazio said he wished in hindsight that the building guidelines themselves, titled “Standards for Starkville’s Historic Districts,” had numbered sections. The HPC has already paid the guidelines’ author, Mississippi Heritage Trust Executive Director David Preziosi, but Griffith said Preziosi left the HPC a digital copy which can be edited in Microsoft Publisher. Fazio said he was concerned about adding this task to Griffith’s workload, but Jones said he would volunteer to make this addition.

“It’s a fabulous recommendation,” Jones said. “I want (users) to be able to go from a big number (in one section) to a number somewhere else. It would be much quicker to find things.”

Griffith said he agreed with the idea, but he asked Jones to remember that the city will incorporate the guidelines into its own numerical ordinance notation if the Starkville Board of Aldermen approves them.

“As far as getting into section, line and verse, I don’t think (that’s necessary for you to do,)” Griffith said to Jones.

The commission also delayed its election of a chairperson for lack of attendance. Fazio, Jones, Sullivan and Joy Day Greene were the only four commissioners present out of a total of seven.

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