By STEVEN NALLEY
The Starkville Historic Preservation Commission will not hold a public hearing on its proposed local historic districts and design standards for those districts today as it initially planned, but it will still hold its regular monthly meeting 5:30 p.m. today in City Hall’s building department to potentially revise district maps and reschedule the public hearing.
Commission chairman Michael Fazio said HPC postponed the public hearing because of potential changes to maps of some of the proposed local historic districts.
“I don’t think there are any changes in Nash Street, but there are changes in Greensboro and Overstreet,” Fazio said. “The direction of it all is to make the districts more compact.”
Lynn Spruill, Starkville’s interim planning department head and chief administrative officer, said it would be best to reschedule the public hearing instead of holding an extra public hearing to account for the map revisions.
“There’s no point putting it in front of the public until the board has finalized (its) amendments,” Spruill said. “We’ll wait until the next meeting.”
The exact date of the next regular monthly HPC meeting is not known; the official 2012 HPC schedule online says the December meeting’s date is to be determined. Normally, the HPC meets on the fourth Tuesday of each month, but the fourth Tuesday of this December is Christmas Day. Spruill said the HPC also has the other city meetings scheduled on other Tuesdays of the month to consider.
“We’ll deal with that (rescheduling) as well (this) Tuesday night,” Spruill said. “The plan for any meeting for HPC will have to be determined (that night) based on the holiday schedule.”
Spruill said it can be difficult to schedule special-call meetings during December when many commissioners, city staff and members of the public interested in attending may have holiday plans that interfere. Fazio said a special-call meeting in addition to the monthly meeting might be needed.
The commission had originally planned to hold just one public hearing on the historic preservation guidelines and districts, Fazio said, leaving the Starkville Board of Aldermen to hold the second public hearing required by law.
Fazio said City Attorney Chris Latimer has since informed him that the HPC and the board of aldermen need to hold two public hearings each.
“I don’t know of a reason why these public hearings will necessarily be on regular meeting nights, and certainly, we will not have them spaced out over two months,” Fazio said. “They will be as expeditious as possible.”
Once the HPC has finalized its district maps, Fazio said, it will begin updating addresses for a mailing list for the proposed districts, not only to send property owners public hearing notices, but also the updated maps themselves. He said the maps will also appear in local newspapers alongside the public hearing notice.
For the past year, the Starkville Historic Preservation Commission has been working with the Mississippi Department of Archives and History to create local historic districts and building standards that would have the force of law within those districts. These districts would coincide with but not necessarily replicate corresponding districts on the National Register of Historic Places, and compliance with NRHP standards is optional.