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Parking, multiple landscape issues lead HPC agenda

April 24, 2012

The Starkville Historic Preservation Commission will discuss design guidelines pertaining to building sites, building settings, landscape features, preservation practices and general maintenance for historic buildings at its meeting Tuesday at 5:30 p.m. in City Hall's building department.
The draft section on building sites includes guidelines for parking which encourage building owners to maintain existing parking in a manner consistent with its original state, i.e., replacing brick paving with brick paving instead of concrete. It also says new paved driveways need to be installed in the least conspicuous parts of the historic property, and it gives several restrictions to that effect.
"Circular driveways or parking areas should not be installed in front of historic buildings, unless historically documented," the guideline draft says. "The paving of a long gravel driveway is also inappropriate, because it gives historic properties a modern subdivision appearance. Asphalt is not an appropriate paving material for driveways and parking areas on historic properties. Also inappropriate is stamped concrete to resemble brick or cobblestone paving. Acceptable paving materials are red brick, concrete, and exposed aggregate."
The draft also recommends use of concrete driveway strips, because they minimize impact on the property and neighborhood's historic traits.
For the past few months, the HPC has been working with Mississippi Heritage Trust Executive Director David Preziosi on design guidelines for buildings in local historic districts. At an HPC work session March 15, commission chair Michael Fazio said the HPC will review the first draft of these guidelines in segments as Preziosi completes them to hold true to Preziosi's schedule.
"Rather than (waiting for Preziosi to) complete the entire document, it just seems prudent to look at sections," Fazio said. "It's possible the schedule won't be held to, but we do not want to slow him down."
The commission will also discuss its certificate of appropriateness process, as it has for its past three meetings. A certificate of appropriateness, or COA, is the instrument HPCs use to grant people permission to externally alter buildings they own in compliance with preservation guidelines. The version of the COA process currently up for discussion includes an application form building owners can fill out to apply for certificates of appropriateness and a flowchart to help building owners determine whether such applications are necessary.

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