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City Seeks to Preserve 200 Historic Homes

Vowing to make preservation a priority, the city has completed a survey of its historic buildings and is exploring incentives to encourage residents to join the crusade.

The survey, compiled over the last year by a preservation expert, was presented to the Planning Commission this week.

About 200 homes are now on the list, which is an updated version of a study that reported 234 properties. Eight homes were added to the earlier list, and 42 were deleted.

Some owners of historic homes expressed their concern to the commission that being on the list could affect their property values. They said they would now have to go through a more rigorous review should they want to alter or demolish structures.

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They requested that the commission study the implications of the historic preservation program for residents before taking further action.

“We’re taking the public’s comments to heart,” city planner Jim Barnes said. “We will try to come up with a recommendation about what criteria should be revised.”

In response to residents’ concerns, Barnes said, the city will explore such incentives as property tax relief, parking code exemptions and reductions in building fee permits to encourage residents to support the preservation campaign.

The commission will then reconsider the issue, probably at its Feb. 20 meeting.

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