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Preservation guide nearing final drafting

August 12, 2012

The Starkville Historic Preservation Commission will hold a specially called meeting Aug. 13 to complete the historic preservation guideline evaluation process before the grant paying for the guidelines’ creation expires.

Commission chair Michael Fazio said he hopes for the commission to work out the guidelines’ final details, having reviewed the guidelines over the past week. At its last meeting, the commission called for the Aug. 13 meeting in addition to its regular monthly meeting so that it could finish guideline discussion by the end of the month.

“We’re just speeding it up a little bit,” Fazio said. “We realized we’re in a position to get things done in a fashion that satisfies everybody. The working title (for the guidelines) is “Standards for Starkville’s Historic Districts,” but we’re going to wait until the next meeting for voting on (that title.)”

At this point, Fazio said any adjustments to the guidelines he foresees are clerical.

“I don’t know what other people will have, but I didn’t find anything substantive that needs to be changed,” Fazio said. “It’s been reorganized according to a proposal that Briar Jones put forward. It’s down to making sure there aren’t any grammatical errors or any details we need to get changed.”

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.

The commission also plans to discuss electing officers, Fazio said, but that is the final item on the agenda, and the election itself may wait until a later meeting depending on how long discussion of the guidelines lasts.

“We’ve been so busy we haven’t been able to do it, but we do need to deal with electing officers,” Fazio said. “It’s on the agenda, and I hope we have time to get to it.”

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