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Council to help residents with local historic district process

Council to help residents with local historic district process

March 13th, 2018 by Nicole Roberts in Local News

The local historic district application for the School Street area initially was denied due to a lack of verified signatures. The district encompasses the area between East McCarty, Lafayette, East Miller and Marshall streets. This is taken from intersection of East McCarty and Lafayette streets looking southwest.

Photo by Julie Smith /News Tribune.

The Jefferson City Council will look into creating a resolution to assist residents working toward the city's first local historic district.

Resident Jenny Smith requested the city sign a local historic district application Monday for the School Street area. Without the city's signature, she said, residents would not meet the city's requirements to establish a local historic district.

Last month, city staff sent back the local historic district application since it did not meet the threshold of 75 percent notarized signatures. They also needed clarification of deed holders on six parcels.

The application including properties in the 600 block of East McCarty Street, all of School Street, the 400 block of Lafayette Street, three houses on the east side of Lafayette Street and 500 Lafayette St.

The application lists 28 parcels total. To reach the 75-percent requirement, the application must have notarized signatures from all property owners at 21 parcels; the application only had signatures for 20 parcels.

Smith said while most of the deficiencies in the application were minor obstacles, the 75 percent requirement proved to be a large hurdle since the city and the Jefferson City Parks, Recreation and Forestry Department own five properties in the proposed local historic district area — 408 and 410 Lafayette St., 602 and 606 E. McCarty St., and 623 School St. This means they own 18 percent of the parcels in the area.

The city did not sign the original application.

"We have only had one parcel owner who has declined to sign so that's pretty good, I would say," Smith said. "We have pretty good support for this neighborhood."

Ward 1 Councilman Rick Prather said he would help draft a resolution for the next council meeting, directing city staff to sign the local historic district application for at least one parcel, allowing residents to meet the 75-percent threshold and resubmit the application.

Other council members agreed they needed to assist residents working toward the city's first local historic district.

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"The citizens are telling us right now that that's what they want to do, and the barriers we're putting forward in terms of 'we can't vote on this' or 'we can or we should waive our vote' and all that, to me, is in the way of what the majority of citizens want to happen to their property in their area," said Ward 2 Councilman Rick Mihalevich, who is also Smith's brother. "I would think we should have a resounding yes to support the citizens to make it a (local historic) district."

Smith also recommended the city extend its market deadline for 408 Lafayette St. and do more to sell the property.

The City Council voted in November to try to sell the property within 90 days of posting the property. The deadline for sale is Thursday.

Smith said the city's process to market the property has been "inadequate" since the city has only posted a few notices in the Jefferson City News Tribune, contacted some of the local historic preservation groups and placed a sign in the front of the home. She added the city also has a high minimum bid, deterring potential buyers.

City staff planned to demolish 408 Lafayette St. to avoid paying back more than $78,000 in federal funds the city had invested in rehabilitating the property.

By selling the property, the council hopes to use the money to help pay back some of the funds owed to the government.

Smith recommended the city try to sell some of the other five properties to help offset the $78,000.

The City Council may create a resolution to extend the market timeline or better market the property, Prather said.

In March, the council approved a demolition moratorium for the School, East McCarty and Lafayette streets area since residents were worried the city would turn the area into green space because it is in a 100-year floodplain. A 2006 city plan also recommends the area be turned into a green space, which the area was in the early 1900s.

The demolition moratorium ended in November.

In December, the Parks and Recreation Commission voted to demolish 602 and 606 E. McCarty St. to add to the nearby Greenway trail.

In other action Monday:

The City Council approved members to the city's Charter Review Advisory Committee during a special council work session.

The council approved a resolution naming nine voting members to the committee, along with two non-voting council members — Ward 3 Councilman Ken Hussey and Ward 4 Councilman Ron Fitzwater.

Committee members include George Hartsfield — who was named chairman in the resolution — Tom Sadowski, Carolyn McDowell, John Hequembourg, Mark Kaiser, Gaylin Carver, Becky Dunn, Ron Medin and Seth Bauman.

The City Council created the committee in January to review the city's charter and discuss possible changes. Hussey proposed the committee so it could take a wider look at the charter and recommend several changes instead of the council proposing them one at a time.

If the committee recommends changes, the City Council will discuss those changes and decide whether to send the recommendations to the ballot for voter approval.

The committee must make recommendations by July 9 so the council can decide whether to place those proposed changes on the November ballot. If the committee needs more time, it must tell the council and will have until Sept. 24 to make suggestions for the April 2019 ballot.

The committee will be terminated if it makes zero recommendations or the council sends recommendations to the ballot.

The council planned to discuss the committee last week but unexpectedly failed to get a quorum, pushing off voting on the resolution until Monday night.