Sykesville Historic District Ordinance Likely To Pass

October 09, 1991|By Ellie Baublitz | Ellie Baublitz,Staff writer

SYKESVILLE — Town officials expect little, if any, opposition at Monday's public hearing on the new historic district ordinance, when Mayor Lloyd R. Helt Jr. plans to call for a vote on the proposal.

The Town Councilwill hear public comments and discuss recommendations from the town's Planning and Zoning and Historic Preservation commissions before itvotes.

Helt said the ordinance is expected to pass unanimously.

"All the council is for it," Helt said. "I'd like a vote to adopt this Monday and get it in place."

Helt has been pressing for a historic district map since the town's first historic district ordinance was passed eight years ago.

But no map detailing the Historic District was passed with the 1983 law. Some members of the previous Town Councilopposed the district and tried to abolish the Historic Preservation Commission, which enforced the ordinance, two years ago.

The new ordinance would abolish the 1983 law and spell out the commission's functions in less detail than previously. It also would reduce the commission from seven to five members and remove it as a subcommittee of Planning and Zoning.

The new law would add the amounts of fines for violators and a section that prevents the commission from making decisions on ordinary maintenance work or the completion of work granted in a permit issued prior to the effective date of the ordinance.

"The new ordinance specifies the amount of fines for violations, of up to $500," Town Manager James L. Schumacher said. "The minimum is usually $100 per day of violation."

The Planning and Zoning Commission reviewed the ordinance Monday night and offered several recommendations to the council.

They are:

* Questioning whether to include the exterior color of a build ing among the changes the commissionhas authority over.

* Adding the Schoolhouse Road area to the district to include the old one-room schoolhouse for blacks. Chairman Jonathan Herman asked to include a small parcel between the previous proposed district and Schoolhouse Road area.

* Increasing the 45-dayperiod the commission is given to make a decision to 60 or 90 days.

* Adding a phrase to Section 12B detailing what happens if an application for work on a historically significant building cannot be worked out in an economically feasible manner for the owner.

* Defining "action" by the commission on an application as a final decision or as a review of the proposal.

* Putting some kind of buffer around the Historic District limits.

The Planning Commission approved the ordinance Monday but will ask for its recommendations to be considered separately from other suggestions in a vote.

Historic Preservation Commission Chairwoman Becky Herman said her group also has somerecommendations to bring to the council.

"The Maryland Historic Trust suggested if exterior paint color is included in what we have authority over, that we should have a palette of colors to choose from," she said.

Even with little opposition expected, town officials want residents to know that passing the ordinance would not require them to renovate their property.

"The historic commission doesn't make you do anything," Jonathan Herman said. "It's only when you ask tomake a change that you have to go to the commission for approval.

"People see it as an imposing, regulating type of thing, but it can be useful if the members are moderate and sensitive."

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