After a change in state law, Jefferson City staff hope establishing a third overlay district will protect some local properties on the National Register of Historic Places.
The Jefferson City Planning and Zoning Commission approved a bill Thursday evening that would establish the National Register Historic Overlay District, which would encompass seven areas currently listed on the National Register of Historic Places though the National Park Service. These places are the Missouri State Capitol Historic District, Capitol Avenue Historic District, Moreau Drive Historic District, Lincoln University Hill Top Campus District, Broadway-Dunklin Historic District, Munichburg Commercial Historic District and Hobo Hill Historic District.
This would be Jefferson City's third overlay district. The city currently has the Capitol Avenue Neighborhood Conservation Overlay District and the Lower Jefferson Conservation Overlay District.
Establishing the National Register Historic Overlay District would zone those areas as historic and could "take advantage of rights, privileges, or benefits offered under state or federal law" for areas zoned as historic under local law, City Counselor Ryan Moehlman said.
The National Register of Historic Places is an honorary designation and not a city zoning process. So for those properties to take advantage of those privileges, sometimes state and federal law require the city to take affirmative action "in addition to having it named to the National Register," Moehlman said.
"Sometimes those state or federal laws require that the city takes affirmative action to essentially reach out and grab those protections or benefits," Moehlman told the News Tribune last month. "So this is what the new overlay district is trying to do. Pretty much any instance (where) state or federal law grants a right, privilege or benefit to a property on the National Register of Historic Places, the city hereby reserves that right, privilege or benefit."
City staff was pushed to pursue this new overlay district after the passage of Missouri House Bill 1991, which will allow wireless telecommunications companies to place small wireless antennas and facilities in public rights-of-way.
"They have a wide amount of discretion without a whole lot of city input on where they deploy their antennas," Moehlman said. "The city doesn't really have too much say on how those antennas get deployed under the new state law."
However, the bill states companies wanting to do this in areas "zoned as historic" as of Aug. 28 must go through public hearing procedures.
"This will allow public input on the impact of these facilities in historic areas and will give the city the ability to work with wireless telecommunications companies to figure out a deployment strategy that works for both the company and a neighborhood," the city staff analysis states.
The new overlay district would not create new restrictions or requirements on the properties in the proposed district, Moehlman said.
"It's a protection," Moehlman said. "We just want to make sure anytime those things come up, we have done what we need to do in order to take advantage of" those protections provided under state and federal law.
To meet the Aug. 28 deadline, this proposed district will be presented to the Jefferson City Council on Aug. 20 for a public hearing.