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HPC to wrap historic district talks

February 26, 2013

The Starkville Historic Preservation Commission will meet at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday at City Hall to discuss final approval of local historic districts’ boundaries before forwarding those districts and their design standards to the Starkville Board of Aldermen.

The meeting culminates more than two years the HPC has spent developing standards that, pending aldermen approval, would restrict certain changes to historic properties within Greensboro Street, Nash Street and Overstreet districts. These districts coincide with, but do not necessarily replicate, corresponding districts on the National Register of Historic Districts, which offers tax incentives for compliance with its building guidelines but does not require compliance.

Commission Chair Michael Fazio said he expected discussion Tuesday to mostly revolve around district boundaries. The commission finalized the building standards in late August, so Fazio said he did not expect discussion to return to those standards.

“If we want to make any changes to the boundaries, we can do that,” Fazio said. “(If we were to adjust boundaries) we would adjust them based on something we heard in the public hearing ... because that’s why you have a hearing. It’s to get citizen comments. Then it goes to the board (of aldermen), so it essentially will be out of our hands.”

The HPC held its sole planned public hearing on the historic districts in late January. Fazio said the HPC was only required to hold one public hearing on these districts, but the board of aldermen would have to hold two.

Some of the attendees at the HPC’s public hearing specifically asked the commission to excise properties of theirs from the historic district maps, including Dan Craig and Patricia Butler. At that time, Fazio said Craig’s request was the only one he had in writing, but all citizens’ comments would be considered.

Several citizens also appeared at the public hearing to discuss merits, raise concerns and ask questions about the districts. Starkville Chief Administrative Officer Lynn Spruill said she thought it was a healthy debate with strong attendance.

“The folks who were interested in the issue came out and spoke regarding the matters that affected them,” Spruill said. “There were some who were in favor. There were some who were not in favor. I think it was an adequate response.”

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