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Panel Forms to Study Historic Preservation Plan
C-T 10 04 17

Monday night's public meeting to introduce the proposed Historic Preservation Ordinance lasted two hours as the attending crowd had split opinions on the issue. According to Tammi Venneman, assistant code enforcement officer, half of the audience was against the issue because they did not want an ordinance to dictate what they could and could not do with their property; while the other half was for the ordinance in support of historic preservation and the maintained appearance of the downtown area.


C-T Photos / Jaime Saucedo

In an interview prior to the meeting, Main Street Executive Director Ben White explained that the ordinance would not restrict property owners from making changes to their property, it would only add a step to consider the historic preservation of their property, if it did, in fact, hold historic value. He also explained that the ordinance would also qualify Chillicothe to get access to federal funding not currently available to property owners, for rehabilitating properties of historic significance.

With the represented community having a split opinion, a committee was formed to work on the ordinance to look into further details of the issue in hopes of answering some lingering issues about the ordinance as it stands. The committee consists of three members of the community, a City Council member, a Planning and Zoning Board member, Venneman and White. Venneman said that there is no timeline on when they might come to a decision. "When we get the information that we requested from Main Street," said Venneman, "we will see where we should go from there. We want at least a majority on board, before we can move forward."


C-T Photos / Jaime Saucedo
Funding opportunities exist that the city of Chillicothe currently does not have access to but could become available.
If passed, a historic preservation ordinance could be the key to those funding programs through the state of Missouri.

City Exploring Historic Preservation Ordinance
Public meeting Monday at City Hall
By JAIME SAUCEDO
C-T 09 29 17

The Chillicothe Planning and Zoning Commission will conduct a public meeting on Monday, Oct. 2,  to discuss a historic preservation ordinance being proposed by Main Street Chillicothe that would outline a district overlay in the downtown area. The meeting begins at 5:30 p.m. in the council chambers at City Hall.

Owners of property within 185 feet of the proposed district have been invited to the hearing to learn how a historic preservation ordinance could affect the surrounding properties and the community, overall. The hearing will not result in a vote on Monday, but individuals will provide input to the Planning and Zoning Commission so that they can offer a recommendation to the City Council. According to Tammi Venneman, assistant code enforcement officer, if changes need to be made to the proposed ordinance, it would go back to the Planning and Zoning Commission; however, if changes are not needed, the proposal would be forwarded to the City Council for a vote at their next meeting. If passed, it will only affect the businesses in the district, but city is required to present it to the people. "They have a say if it is within 185 feet away from their residence or their business," said Venneman, "simply because if it's going to affect their area, then we want their opinion. The public opinion means a lot to our board."

This meeting is just a first step in a bigger opportunity. If passed, and the historic preservation ordinance is implemented, a historic preservation board would need to be formed. And, once the board would be formed, the city of Chillicothe would meet the required criteria to enter the Certified Local Government program that is administered by the Missouri Department of Natural Resources' State Historic Preservation Office. As a part of the program, Chillicothe would then be eligible for federal funding through the program for historic preservation projects. Other resources would be available to build a preservation plan, identify historic resources, and help put a program in place to identify buildings in danger of falling down and how to feasibly rehabilitate them. "We are proposing it because we want access to these additional grants to be available to the downtown owners," said Main Street Chillicothe Director Ben White. "This money is a resource that is currently not taken advantage of. It is our mission to help preserve downtown, to find access to this kind of funding and another tool to help with rehabilitation projects."

Newly-appointed City Administrator Darrin Chappell said that he is not caught up on this particular proposition but is generally familiar with this type of proposal. Chappell said that he believes historic preservation to be important and would support the ordinance as long as it does not impose burdensome restrictions that limit the downtown businesses ability to maintain their properties.

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