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Heritage Committee may tweak historical structures list

X may mark the spot that was once a historical structure.

The city Heritage Committee is considering making a new category for structures on the historical structures list for those that have been altered and are no longer historical. The proposal came about during the committee’s overhaul of the list of structures that are or should be regarded as historically or architecturally valuable, according to the committee’s annual report.


“Last year we asked for money to review the inventory,” reported committee Chairman Jon Madison. “We thought there were 460 — there were more like 500.

“When the inventory is completed, it will be a comprehensive list of what you can do and what you can’t do.”


Property owners on the list were notified. They have no say about their inclusion. Nor are they entitled to the perks offered to owners of structures on the city’s Historical Register, which must be requested and approved by the committee.

“Three were really annoyed to be on the inventory, but five decided the benefits merited registration,” Madison said. “Homeowners can go to the city’s website to see what the perks are.”

Perks of being on the historical inventory include reductions in parking requirements and may permit some intrusion into setbacks along property lines.

E-rated or “exceptional” structures — those that are considered to be outstanding and/or unique historic architectural buildings and possibly eligible for the National Historic Register — may qualify for the Mills Act, a state program that reduces property taxes. However, the tax reductions are expected to be spent on maintenance or improvement projects presented to and approved by the committee, which conducts inspections.


Madison said the committee’s work is facilitated by a designated city planner.

The nine-member committee serves as an advisory body to the City Council on requests for inclusion on the city’s Historic Register and recommendations for Mills Act contracts and is consulted by the Design Review Board and the Planning Commission on projects involving historical structures.

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