Dennis O’Connor: Preservation ideas | SteamboatToday.com

Dennis O’Connor: Preservation ideas

Steamboat Springs — Disappointed, but not surprised, was my reaction to the City Manager handpicking the historic preservation committee members. Disappointed because applicants were specifically told by (the City) Council president that they were not going to handpick this committee, that they wanted to make sure every applicant was interviewed to ensure fairness. Although our new manager may not have a usual way of forming a committee, the people of this town do. — Disappointed, but not surprised, was my reaction to the City Manager handpicking the historic preservation committee members. Disappointed because applicants were specifically told by (the City) Council president that they were not going to handpick this committee, that they wanted to make sure every applicant was interviewed to ensure fairness. Although our new manager may not have a usual way of forming a committee, the people of this town do.

— Disappointed, but not surprised, was my reaction to the City Manager handpicking the historic preservation committee members. Disappointed because applicants were specifically told by (the City) Council president that they were not going to handpick this committee, that they wanted to make sure every applicant was interviewed to ensure fairness. Although our new manager may not have a usual way of forming a committee, the people of this town do.

Here’s my suggested solution to the historic preservation issue:

1) Voluntary. Property owners of homes 50 years or older are asked to join a select Home Owner’s group/association. Upon application, they work with the museum (a tax beneficiary) to trace the history of the home. Agree to voluntarily adhere to standards set by the association.

2) Incentives. Member properties are given tax relief from city taxes, including utilities, permit fees and other city charges or a percent thereof. Or rebate of permit fees for remodeling incompliance with standards.

3) Honorary. Similar to Pacific Grove, Calif., historic homes would have a plaque so designating it, and containing historic information such as the year it was built, the names of the original owners, notable former owners and the names of the owners designating it as historic. Homes could be displayed on the museum and chamber Web sites with historic information.

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By making a program voluntary, built on incentives and giving proper recognition, we don’t trample the constitutional property rights, sense of community, independence and lifestyle we also seek to preserve.

Dennis O’Connor

Steamboat Springs