Yesterday’s Landmarks Commission meeting (and this morning’s story in the ARN) revealed that some info is needed about what Historic Overlay really means. Here’s a plain-English version to try to address some misconceptions that may exist about what Historic Overlay might mean to the former Abilene High – Lincoln campus.
Historic Overlay… What it is:
- Makes it more difficult to demolish a building, but demolition is still possible.
- Provides an educational process for owners, with staff support and advice
- Provides a way for a property to be contributing to the look and feel of its surrounding neighborhood
- Requires a Certificate of Appropriateness before major changes are made to the exterior and provides a procedure for obtaining the Certificate of Appropriateness
- For individuals and for-profit companies, provides ad valorem tax savings from the city portion of their tax bill
- Eligibility for a plaque, “Abilene Historic Landmark”
- Improves the case for state (Texas Recorded State Landmark) and national (National Register for Historic Places) designations
- Is usually desired and requested by the owner
- Need for a Certificate of Appropriateness (C.A.) is triggered by a building permit application, or a demolition permit application.
Historic Overlay… What it is not:
- Is not analogous to “frozen in time”
- Does not affect what the owner can do with the interior
- No certificate is required for regular maintenance, including painting, unless there is a significant change in the color
- Does not prohibit changes like window replacement
- Selective demolition, removal of accessory buildings for redevelopment, can be allowed with a C.A.
- Modern additions can be allowed with a C.A.
The Land Development Code, Section 184.108.40.206, provides the following criteria:
- Historical, archaeological or cultural significance or value to the development, heritage or cultural, characteristics of the city, state or county
- Association with events or persons of significance
- The building style distinctive of a type, period or method of construction or architecture
- Yielding or may yield historical information
- Unique location contributing to a familiar visual feature of a neighborhood
- Represents the work of a master, designer, architect, builder or craftsman