Troy City Council holds public hearing on Historic District zoning amendment

TROY — The Troy City Council held a public hearing on the proposed amendment to the zoning code for the Historic Preservation Overlay district.

Board President of the Troy Historic Preservation Alliance and the Overfield Tavern Museum Ben Sutherly spoke at Monday’s hearing.

“Maintaining a downtown like ours is a delicate balance, one that can only be achieved when many stakeholders work together. Changing the built environment in our historic downtown is one of the most important duties of the planning commission and it is of great interest to the public,” said Sutherly.

Speaking on the amendment, Sutherly stated an appreciation for the objectivity it had in certain areas but noted the concerns held by local organizations.

“First, we are concerned that the proposed updates would limit the ability of interested stakeholders in the community to file appeals on decisions to demolish historic buildings,” said Sutherly. “Language about appeals by any interested party has been removed and only owners and neighboring property owners may file an appeal under the proposed update.”

Sutherly also stated that he believed there was “significant subjectivity” in the way that buildings would be classified as historic and urged for a super majority of planning commission members to waive any rules put forward in the amendment.

This was the second reading of the proposed amendment that seeks to:

• Update the procedure for appeals to provide clarity

• Remove Certificate of Appropriateness (COA) requirements for and define minor alterations

• Explain when a COA is required and define criteria for an application

• Describe the COA review and define the Zoning Administrator and Planning Commission’s responsibilities

• Introduce a process for demolition that must meet predetermined standards

• Propose a Historic Preservation – Overlay District (HP-O) design manual which would provide guidelines to review COA applications

• Provide criteria for demolition by neglect and follow the penalty section of the zoning code

The amendment will be discussed further at the Community and Economic Development committee meeting on Monday, Aug. 22, before being brought before council for a vote.

By unanimous vote, the council approved the levying of assessments for phase 13 of the sidewalk improvement program. The assessments will return $131,869.50 to the city.

Also on Monday, the council unanimously approved an ordinance to change the zoning of the Sheridan Annexation, located at 1525 Troy-Sidney Road, from county zoning R-1AAA to city zoning of R-4, single family residential.

The council suspended the three-reading rule on all legislation that required it.

The next Troy City Council meeting will take place on Tuesday, Sep. 6, at 7 p.m. in the council chambers at city hall.