The News Courier in Athens, Alabama


November 30, 2009

Residents want veto of historic commission amendment


Beaty District resident Ralph Freehauf agreed with Baker that the entire ordinance is too vague in the restrictions that have been added.

“If we’re to have guidelines, we need to have them spelled out,” said Freehauf.

Freehauf also said he doubts that the Historic Preservation Commission takes input from residents seriously.

“We attended a commission meeting and spoke for two and a half hours, but the commission had already made up their minds and sent it on to the council, and they voted on it Nov. 23,” said Freehauf. “We were under the impression it had to be advertised in the paper first.”

Bert Nelson said the amendment setting up the CLG was contradictory along with being vague. He pointed out a section which states that in order to become certified, city officials must attend educational courses.

“But then it goes on to say the classes are not a requirement,” said Nelson.

Nelson said the old historic district ordinance was inconsistent, but residents found it easier to live with than the amended one.

“As long as someone doesn’t destroy history, we can live with that,” said Nelson. “If someone wants to paint their house purple or pink, we can live with that too because that can always be painted over.”

The mayor said that the commission could not write in rules or regulations that were not consistent with the ordinance and that any changes in the ordinance would have to come to the council for approval.

Williams said that when the city first set up historic districts, many people wanted their homes included in the belief that it would increase property values. He said the council redrew district lines to allow more people in. But once in, some property owners did not like the rules and regulations and wanted out.

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