By STEVEN NALLEY
The Starkville Historic Preservation Commission will plan future information sessions on standards for its proposed local historic districts and elect a chairperson at its meeting Tuesday at 5:30 p.m. in City Hall’s building department.
A tentative plan included online with the meeting’s agenda outlines plans for not only city public hearings on “Standards for Starkville’s Historic Districts” but also neighborhood meetings and other information sessions where the HPC would inform members of the public about the standards and their implications. The commission began planning these information sessions at its Aug. 28 meeting, after it approved the standards’ final draft.
The tentative schedule calls for meetings after Oct. 1 in each of the three neighborhoods targeted for local districts — Overstreet, Greensboro, and Nash Street — as well as an information session with local realtors. Commission chair Michael Fazio said HPC members may meet with other groups, but exactly who those groups are is not yet set in stone.
“The point is, we’re looking to meet with groups of citizens who are concerned about development in Starkville,” Fazio said. “We’ll talk broadly about everything concerning the local districts, including financial benefits (for property owners in local historic districts).”
The local districts the HPC plans to discuss may share similarities with but do not have to exactly match the three Starkville neighborhoods as already outlined on the National Register of Historic Places. If the city approves the standards and districts, the standards would have the force of law within the districts, establishing design guidelines for local historic buildings.
The tentative schedule calls for a first public hearing before the HPC on Nov. 27, but it does not set a date for a second public hearing before the board of aldermen. Past events on the schedule include Fazio’s presentation to the Starkville Board of Aldermen Sept. 18, which Fazio said was primarily informational. City Planner Ben Griffith said Fazio’s presentation was also brief, because crowds were gathered for the aldermen’s decision on reopening the western entrances to the Green Oaks subdivision.
“He basically went through a chronology of what the HPC has doing for the last year and what they plan to do now,” Griffith said. “It was a big crowd, and (the aldermen) were wanting to get to (the Green Oaks issue).”
The commission will also hold an election for its chairperson at the meeting. Griffith said city commissions typically hold elections for both chairs and vice chairs at the same time every two years, but the HPC has opted for a different cycle.
“For continuity of leadership, they’ll elect a chairman in an even year and a vice chair in an odd year,” Griffith said. “It’s within their purview to do so. We’ll see how it goes.”