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By STEVEN NALLEY
The Starkville Historic Preservation Commission approved payment for the writer of âStandards for Starkvilleâs Historic Districtsâ at its meeting Tuesday, but after discussing several remaining changes desired, the commission did not hold a vote to approve a final draft.
Commission chair Michael Fazio said he hopes to finish discussion of these standards by the end of the month.
âWe donât have a final draft, but weâre down to very modest changes,â Fazio said. âI anticipate I will read it line by line one more time. Hopefully, weâll have a vote at the next meeting.â
For the past several months, Mississippi Heritage Trust Executive Director David Preziosi has been drafting design guidelines for historic buildings in planned local historic districts, incorporating the HPCâs recommendations into multiple revisions. City Planner Ben Griffith said the grant helping the city pay for the Preziosiâs work concludes with the fiscal year, leading the HPC to hold a specially called meeting so it could recommend approval of Preziosiâs payment to the Starkville Board of Aldermen.
âPreziosi provided us an invoice for $4,000; thatâs the cityâs share,â Griffith said. âIt will need to be included on next weekâs board (of aldermenâs) docket to make it.â
Commissioner Jason Barrett was the only one absent from the meeting, but all other commissioners suggested changes to the guidelines in turn. Many were minor; for instance, commissioner Briar Jones said he wanted a font that better reflected the cityâs character.
Other changes may have only removed a few words, but the consequences were far-reaching. For instance, Jones also asked to delete an element disallowing metal awnings.
ââNo metal awnings,â in my mind, could be construed in a lot of different ways,â Jones said.
Commissioner Tom Walker said the Starkville Central Neighborhood Foundation has recently succeeded in getting downtown Starkville on the National Register of Historic Places, and he wanted the commission to consider factoring the downtown national district into its discussion. He said he wanted to include guidelines for storefronts in the document to prepare for any discussion of adding the NRHP district to Starkvilleâs local historic districts.
âIf we ever decided to deal with downtown, my experience is having a âknownâ is better than having an âunknownâ to throw stones at,â Walker said. âSomething that already exists is less troublesome to think of.â
Several commissioners said it was too early to factor downtown into the guidelines. Ultimately, Fazio said, the commission decided to leave any reference to commercial buildings like the ones downtown out of the document.
âThatâs a completely different discussion for another day,â Fazio said. âIn my mind, if and when we were to decide we wanted to deal with downtown, I would only imagine we would go to the downtown property owners first and say, âWhat do you think?â I donât want anything in here that looks like weâre in fact way down that road.â
The commission did vote on a final name for the document, and commissioner Cyndi Sullivan said she wanted to see every reference to the âguidelinesâ inside the document changed to the word âstandards.â
Finally, the commission voted to elect officers at its Sept. 25 meeting, a move Griffith said was consistent with other city committees.
âI think I only have one other committtee that doesnât have election of officers in September,â Griffith said.