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HPC to discusses processes tonight

February 28, 2012

By STEVEN NALLEY
citybeat@bellsouth.net

The Starkville Historic Preservation Commission will discuss processes and procedures for issuing certificates of appropriateness at its meeting 5:30 p.m. Tuesday at City Hall.
HPC Chair Michael Fazio said when people want to alter buildings they own in cities’ local historic districts, those cities’ HPCs grant permission through certificates of appropriateness (COAs). Creating an application process for COAs is part of the HPC’s ongoing design guideline development, he said.
“This is the public’s entry point into the guidelines,” Fazio said. “Therefore, that entry point material needs to be very clear, very concise (and) as easy to use as possible.”
For the past few months, the HPC has worked with Mississippi Heritage Trust Executive Director David Preziosi on design guidelines for buildings in local historic districts. City Planner Ben Griffith said Starkville’s HPC is a fairly recent creation — it was formed in Fall 2010 — so local historic districts are not in place yet because the guidelines are not yet ready.
“A COA is what you would use if design guidelines were in place... for construction or for rehabilitation,” Griffith said. “Those triggers haven’t been established, because the guidelines are still in a draft format.”
To develop the COA process, Griffith said the HPC will look at examples other cities with HPCs have set. He said these include Oxford, Tupelo and McComb, chosen primarily because their processes were online and recently updated.
Fazio said McComb’s processes in particular are also up for discussion because Preziosi worked with McComb’s HPC to develop them.
“We will be reviewing a number of different ordinances from different communities,” Fazio said. “It will become clear what the differences among them are in content and how they present the material. We want the material (in the examples HPC draws from) to be very clear and concise in a very easy-to-use way.
“We need a process that’s consistent with the laws of the city and the standard practices of city planning, the city’s normal procedures by which they do all kinds of related things,” Fazio added. “We want to spell out our process and ... make sure it’s consistent with everything else the city does that’s related to it.”
Preziosi’s first complete draft of the guidelines is due April 1, according to an HPC e-packet from Nov. 22. The e-packet also says the guidelines’ final draft is due Aug. 1.

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