Historic Guidelines Reviewed
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The council got its first look last week at Historic District standards and guidelines recommended by its Historic District Preservation Commission.
New construction, major renovations, demolitions and landscaping work must be approved by the village staff or the commission if the council votes to adopt the detailed standards and guidelines.
The council took no action at its work session.
Planning Director Andrea Correll said the council is not required to hold a public hearing on these standards and guidelines prior to adoption.
The guidelines would cover any property within the designated boundaries of the district, including "noncontributing" structures, which are those built after 1970 or older ones in which the exterior has been extensively altered. Contributing, or historic properties, are those built between 1895 and 1970, the period in which the founding Tufts family owned and operated the hotel, country club and resort village.
The local commission has already adopted a boundary map designating the Historic District, which covers 1,200 acres and 601 properties.
It is the result of a study and inventory done by April Montgomery of Circa Inc. of Raleigh, a firm hired by the village. She is a historic preservationist.
Council members urged Correll to distribute widely the 54-page set of standards and regulations, with additional charts showing procedures required if a property owner wants to do major, minor, or normal maintenance work on the exterior of any building within the local Historic District.
Major work includes moving a structure; building a new home; changing the roof line; putting new siding on the buildings; deleting an architectural feature such as a shutter or dormer; replacing or adding a door and/or window; adding a fence or wall visible from the street; installing fire exits; landscaping changes; and permanent signage.
Property owners must obtain a certificate of appropriateness from the Preservation Commiss-ion.
Minor projects or maintenance work requires staff review only. The village staff can issue the certificate of appropriateness.
Tree removal, defined as "minor," must be approved by a staff and requires a certificate if the tree is four inches or more in diameter at breast height (about four feet high), is dead or "problematic."
Anything typically done to the exterior is classified in one of the three categories, with a list of 36 items.
"I read it that I can't do anything without calling you guys and getting a form," Councilman Doug Lapins said.
Correll said the village will make copies available for the general public. She said 1,200 letters will be mailed again to Pinehurst property owners, notifying them of a second public hearing the council will hold July 25 at 1 p.m. in the Assembly Hall. Two more hearings will be held on the fourth Tuesday in August and September.
"It is a big undertaking," Correll said.
Preserving the historic ambience of the village was one of the recommendations in the 2003 Comprehensive Long Range Plan for Pinehurst, which was based on extensive public input.
"Architecture" is the deciding factor about the local historic district requirements, Correll said. Replacement materials can be "characteristic" of the original building's appearance and type of material.
The standards and guidelines show examples and describe features of different eras and styles of architecture in the Historic District through the 75-year time frame.
"We have wanted to take as much off the commission as we can," Correll said, referring to the items village staff can approve for maintenance and minor work. "Other historic districts in other towns are used to doing it. In the past, we've gone to the Planning and Zoning Board for decisions. We studied Raleigh's Historic District Commission, Wilmington, and Asheville, and overall, they were just as detailed as ours is."
In Raleigh, the staff "dealt with 90 percent of the stuff that came before them, such as tree-planting and fences," she said.
Landowners interested in ob-taining tax credits for work on contributing property within the district must be on the National Register of Historic Landmarks, a separate federal program under the U.S. Department of the Interior, and must invest a certain amount of money into restoration and preservation of their building over a period of 24 months before becoming eligible.
The tax credits come from the state and/or federal governments, and are administered by the State Historic Preservation Office. The local historic district designation does not impact property tax values for properties in the district but lends indirect value by ensuring a stable residential community with property maintenance and protection standards.
Some landmark property owners are eligible to apply for 50 percent property tax deferrals as long as they maintain and preserve important architectural details, according to the Circa Inc. report. But the deferred taxes might be recaptured by the government if the property owner removes or destroys the property or fails to preserve its important features.
Circa Inc. concludes in its inventory that 32 properties built in the "period of significance" (1895-1970) were "substantially altered are considered to be noncontributing," according to a summary from Correll. Renovation work on noncontributing properties and new construction must be in keeping with the surrounding neighborhood, in size, height and other exterior features.
On contributing structures, the property owner is required to maintain and keep the property up, such as painting, making sure wood is not rotting taking and other measures.
Added to the list of "major" work projects that must go before the Historic Preservation Commission are "controversial" work of any type on an exterior building that allows the staff to bring it to the attention of the commission, Correll said.
The standards have been reviewed by the town's legal counsel. The local report by Circa Inc. must also go to the state Historic Preservation Office for review as a clearinghouse within 30 days, she said.
Sara Lindau can be reached at 693-2473 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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