Certificate of Design Compliance Required for Historic Demolitions

Coming for its first hearing with City Council on Tuesday, January 25th is a welcome amendment to the UDC that finally gives HARC the discretion to forbid the demolition of a historic property.

Certificate of Design Compliance for Demolitions.

Currently any historic structure may be moved or demolished 175 days after the Historic and Architectural Review Commission has denied approval for this to happen. Our current law provides for a “cooling off” period only. HARC can disapprove a petition to move or demolish a historic building but the applicant can return after 175 days with the same request, and HARC is forced then to approve it.

The proposed amendment to the ordinance requires applicants to present evidence why a building should be demolished or removed. It requires longer delay periods depending on the historic priorities of the structures. It ultimately allows HARC to refuse permission if necessary. The applicant then may appeal directly to the City Council.

This amendment provides a protection for our historic buildings that Georgetown has always lacked. Since 1984 when the first historic survey was done we have lost approximately 162 structures. Of these, 32 were High Priority and 48 were Medium Priority.

This is probably our only chance to give our remaining significant structures a real protection that will allow the historic feel of the town to survive.

The agenda for Tuesday’s meeting is here and Exhibit 3 is shown below:

Exhibit 3 – Historic Demolition

 

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