Kendallville Presents Historic Preservation Commission Order | Sun News

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KENDALLVILLE – For the first time, Kendallville is moving forward establishing ground rules to maintain and improve its historic downtown.

After a nearly hour-long discussion at town hall ahead of Kendallville City Council on Tuesday, council members presented and approved on first reading and an ordinance that would establish a historic preservation commission for the town.

This commission, if approved and formed, will then undertake the process of establishing a historic district covering the downtown area and developing guidelines on what building owners can do and should further aspire to do. when making physical changes to their buildings.

Kendallville City Council Chairman Jim Dazey was quick on his words after the ordinance was introduced, saying he believed the preservation effort could be of historic benefit to the historic street corridor main.

“I have been behind this office for 26 years. Every year I hear that we haven’t done anything for our downtown core, ”Dazey said. “This is the biggest and best opportunity we have ever had in this community. “

Kendallville must act now, as the creation of a historic preservation commission is a key requirement of the $ 2 million Main Street preservation grant the city received this fall. Although Kendallville introduced the concept on its own about a decade ago – an effort that was ultimately defeated by a coalition of business owners who opposed it – the city must act now or abandon it. grand prix of the state.

“The passage of this ordinance and the formation of the Preservation Commission are essential to receive this grant of $ 2 million,” said Mayor Suzanne Handshoe.

Even still, city officials had moved towards setting local standards anyway, especially with the recent millions poured into downtown investments in projects such as the downtown cityscape and downtown. numerous 50/50 matching grants from the Kendallville Redevelopment Commission.

At the town hall meeting prior to the council meeting, Todd Zeiger, director of the northern region office for Indiana Landmarks, summarized the purpose and function of historic preservation commissions in Indiana.

Three main points emerged: the commission is made up of local residents, who aim to protect the characters of the community; preserving, maintaining what exists or trying to reproduce it as closely as possible is the primary objective; and that setting rules and standards for the neighborhood holds each building owner accountable to each other and ultimately increases the level of investment in the neighborhood over the long term.

The seven-member board will be chosen by the mayor and must be approved by Kendallville City Council, with members serving a three-year term.

On Tuesday, Handshoe revealed that she had already received the hiring of four people to serve on the new board of directors – construction contractor, owner of a downtown building and former redevelopment commissioner Keith Ballard, owner of a downtown building and organizer of the Kendallville Car Show, Stéphane Langelier, Kendallville historian and KPC retiree. Publisher and President of Media Group, Terry Housholder, and Jerry Spaw, a member of Kendallville Restorations Inc. and passionate about neighborhood revitalization.

The mayor and council are in the process of locking down three other members who would be formally appointed to the commission if it were formed.

The commissions are made up of neighbors and landlords, who have a vested interest in seeing their communities thrive, Zeiger said.

“The commission is just a group of people who live in the community here and have experience in the design and construction of older historic buildings,” Zeiger said. “It’s you. It’s the Kendallville Historic Preservation Commission. It’s not me or anyone else.

Having a historic district and a preservation commission does not force any building owner to do any work. Routine repairs and maintenance can also be done without any additional commission intervention, so homeowners who just want to maintain their buildings should have no issues.

But when a building owner seeks to upgrade or make changes to the structure or character of their building, those projects go to the commission for review.

Handshoe said all such projects should go to the commission for review. In previous meetings, Handshoe has erroneously stated that this would only be required for work related to grants or local taxes, but it is not.

In an effort to allay common concerns about a hefty commission effectively telling building owners what they can and cannot do with their buildings, Zeiger said the process is almost always much more cooperative and collaborative, with the commissions. helping guide owners toward historically acceptable improvements.

“It is not the intention to turn it into a museum. The intention is to preserve the original building as much as possible, ”explained Zeiger. “The goal is to preserve the authentic nature of what you have.”

At an ideal level, Zeiger said there are three different levels. At the top, saving and restoring original features is still the best and most preferred options. In cases where something cannot be saved in its original form, it is best to repair it with new replica materials. Finally, in situations where the authentic functionality cannot be saved or replaced, the goal is to create something new that matches and fits with the historical theme.

The commission is there to represent the ideal case, but balancing that with the resources, scope and vision of the building owners to produce the best result.

“We don’t want the perfect to be the enemy of the good,” Zeiger said.

Finally, Zeiger said putting these rules in place uplifts the entire district and drives long-term investment and growth. When building owners know the ordinance protects them by ensuring that their neighbors do nothing to undermine the values ​​or aesthetics of the downtown core, they end up being more inclined to invest, which places the higher bar for all surrounding neighbors.

“If you look at these economic studies, it’s because this shared vision is there… I am protected that the neighbor is going to do the same and my investment is protected by that,” Zeiger said.

Although the new ordinance contains some teeth in terms of enforcement mechanisms, which may include fines or lawsuits to stop work, Zeiger said that over 25 years, there have been very few cases where it never got there.

Instead, even when there are disputes or disagreements, protracted negotiations between building owners, the commission, and outside resources ready to help almost always result in a good resolution.

“I can count on one hand, we’ve been on the app side with the commissions and these situations have been a blatant thumbs down,” Zeiger said. “There is no point in being out there, everyone loses in some ways.”

Another notable development on Tuesday was the eventual two-stage establishment of a historic district. The ordinance, as drafted, allows for a progressive historic district, with an initial three-year period during which commission approval would only be required for activities such as demolition or new construction.

Zeiger explained that this was an option but not a requirement, and said he would advise Kendallville to forgo this in favor of a full-power historic district from the start, which means that any building change should first go through the approval process.

When questioned by city council members, Zeiger again clarified that routine maintenance usually does not require commission approval. For example, replacing a flat roof with another flat roof or redoing a facade with the same materials already present, would obtain an automatic OK without the preservation commission having to intervene.

With much discussion on the matter on Tuesday, council members finally approved the first reading of Order 4-0, in the absence of council member Corey Boese.

The ordinance is expected to go to second reading at the next council meeting on November 16 at 7 p.m.

In other Tuesday business, the city council:

Heard from Fire Chief Jeremy McKinley, who said firefighters received excellent assistance from a Kendallville Police Department drone while fighting a fire at the Wash ‘N’ Dry coin-operated laundromat on the street Iddings last week. The drone enabled firefighters to better assess the ongoing fire and coordinate their efforts.

Heard from a man who said he was planning to buy the old Rudy’s Bar and Grill on North Main Street and needed information on what he could and couldn’t do there. inside the building. The man said he would also be interested in purchasing the old relaxation station next door and knocking through a wall to connect the two buildings. The mayor referred him to city building inspector Dave Lange for this information.

• The salaries of elected officials approved at second reading. Salaries for 2022 are as follows: mayor, $ 67,028.62; clerk-treasurer, $ 63,542.10; Members of Kendallville City Council and members of the Works and Public Safety Council, $ 5,500.


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