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HDC_07 07 2022LITTLE ROCK HISTORIC DISTRICT COMMISSION DEPARTMENT OF PLANNING AND DEVELOPMENT 723 West Markham Street Little Rock, Arkansas 72201-1334 Phone: (501) 371-4790 Fax:(501) 399-3435 www.littlerock.gov LITTLE ROCK HISTORIC DISTRICT COMMISSION AGENDA Thursday, July 7, 2022 4:00 p.m. Board Chambers, 2 nd Floor City Hall, 500 West Markham & Virtual Meeting I.Roll Call Quorum was present being six (6) in number. Members Present: Vice Chair Amber Jones Robert Hodge Mark Hinson Christina Aleman Jonathan Nunn Tom Fennell Members Absent: Chair Ted Holder City Attorney: Sherri Latimer Staff Present: Hannah Ratzlaff Walter Malone Citizens Present: Patricia Blick II. Minutes Commissioner Jonathan Nunn made a motion to approve the April 7, 2022 minutes as submitted. Commissioner Rob Hodge seconded. The motion passed with 6 ayes, 0 noes, and 1 absent. Ill. National Register Nominations 1.None IV.Deferred Certificates of Appropriateness 1.None V.New Certificates of Appropriateness 1.None 1 VI. Other Matters A. Central High Neighborhood Local Ordinance Historic District Hannah Ratzlaff, HDC staff, made a presentation on a proposal to establish a local ordinance district ("LOD") for the Central High Neighborhood Historic District ("CHNHD"). Commissioner Jones shared that it was important, moving forward, to be clear about what an LOD regulates and what it does not regulate since there are many misconceptions. An LOD does not set minimum requirements for maintenance of properties. Jones said it would be a loss to the district to lose its National Register status if just for the consequential loss of access to state and federal tax credits. Ratzlaff said Little Rock's Historic Preservation ordinance identifies preservation education as one of the tasks of the Commission, which is a unique function in comparison to other City commissions. Preservation education is an essential tool as the LOD proposal moves forward. Ratzlaff shared that staff would likely be providing presentations on the LOD with the Wright Avenue and Central High neighborhood associations. Commissioner Nunn advocated for the creation of a local incentives program for properties within local ordinance districts. He stated that tax credits are a great resource, but the process can be overwhelming for the average owner who just needs to repair wood windows, siding, or their roof. A local grant for larger maintenance projects would be a benefit to the property owners in the proposed LOD. Commissioner Fennell agreed. He stated the LOD needs to be coupled with an incentives program. He stated that goal of an LOD, and the HDC, is not to increase burdens to the property owner of a historic structure, but to assist in saving and maintaining the structure. Commissioner Jones stated that historic district neighborhoods which have regulated districts tend to see increases in property values. Historic properties grow with value over time due to their character and many owners don't realize what they have in this asset. Commissioner Nunn stated that applicants of owner -occupied property experience historic preservation regulation differently than applicants of non -owner -occupied properties. This ownership demographic of the CHNHD needs to be taken into consideration moving forward. Fennell agreed and proposed that if an additional position with Planning & Development was created following this proposed ordinance, it should focus on providing technical assistance to property owners of historic structures, including navigating owners through funding opportunities. Commissioner Aleman agreed. 2 Aleman asked if the Planning & Development Department would oversee the proposed moratorium on demolition and exterior building permits. Attorney Latimer said that the Board of Directors would be voting on the resolution on July 19tn and all demolition and building permit applications would be reviewed by Planning staff, as they are reviewed currently. If the applicant wishes to appeal to do work during the moratorium, their application would be reviewed by the Board of Directors at a public meeting. Ratzlaff added that the moratorium would not apply to ordinary maintenance and interior-only work. Ratzlaff spoke to the importance of the HDC being more visible in its actions as well as its preservation initiatives. Ratzlaff spoke to Nunn and Fennell's comments and stated that a local incentives program is an important opportunity and can be explored. Attorney Latimer asked when the full report for the LOD proposal would be provided to the Planning Commission and the Arkansas Historic Preservation Program for their recommendations. Ratzlaff shared that the report would be sent to the Planning Commission and AHPP tomorrow morning (July V). Ratzlaff shared that she expects edits on the report from AHPP and that she will be presenting the report to the Planning Commission on July 14th. Commissioner Jones shared that code enforcement officers who work in the CHNHD often act as facilitators. Jones recommends that staff visit with code enforcement officers in the district since they have a closer view and experience of the district. Attorney Latimer asked when the HDC would expect to hear the LOD proposal as a public hearing item to vote on. Ratzlaff said likely September or October. Nunn asked about codifying additional representation on the Commission for residents of the CHNHD. Attorney Latimer said that if the Board of Directors passed the LOD, an ordinance to adjust the number of positions on the HDC would need to be presented at a following meeting. Nunn expressed the importance of communicating the opening positions to the public leading up to the Board meeting. Walter Malone, Planning Manager, reminded the Commission that the City budget would go before the Board of Directors at the end of the year. Depending on when, and if, the LOD was passed, an ordinance to change the number of members on the HDC would likely be pushed to a meeting following the setting of the budget. Malone projected it would be the first or second quarter of 2023 when new positions might be appointed. 3 Commissioner Hinson stated that due diligence should be practiced to communicate the proposal to the property owners of the proposed LOD. He said that he supported the proposal. B. Administrative Approvals: Storm windows and fencing from COA to COC Hannah Ratzlaff, HDC staff, made a presentation for the Commission to consider making storm window and fencing projects approvable at the staff -level. Commissioner Jones clarified that this is a request for these project types that are now COAs to become COCs. Ratzlaff confirmed. Jones asked about the staff review process for a COC. Ratzlaff identified the features that staff reviews for storm windows and fences stated in the Design Guidelines. Jones asked if this change in the application and review process would need to be voted on by the Commission. Ratzlaff said it will be an item at the next public hearing for the Commission's vote. Sherri Latimer, Deputy City Attorney, shared that this type of change would not necessitate changing the Commission's by-laws or the guidelines. It would be changing the Commission's internal procedure. Commissioner Christina Aleman shared that the uses and benefits of administrative approvals like this were discussed at the CAMP training, provided by the National Association of Preservation Commissions. Aleman shared her support for the change. Aleman asked if applications that were denied at the staff level would be brought to the Commission. Ratzlaff shared that if staff was not able to provide an applicant with a staff level approval because the request did not meet the Guidelines, the applicant may ask for their request to be heard by the Commission at a public hearing, but the staff's recommendation would be denial. Aleman asked if the changes to the Guidelines concerning storm windows that were approved by the Commission at a previous meeting were formally incorporated in the Guidelines. Ratzlaff confirmed. Commission Fennell presented that if there is a transition in the future to a new City staff member for the Commission, that storm windows and fences revert to COAs. Walter Malone, Planning Manager, and Attorney Latimer gave context to how administrative approvals are managed within the Planning & Development Department. Commissioner Hodge asked if administrative approvals were codified in the Design Guidelines. Ratzlaff shared that it is not codified in the Design Guidelines what is and is not an administrative approval. Staff -level approval has been determined mostly by communication between the Commission and previous staff. Ratzlaff said she will provide a list of 4 current administrative approvals for the Commission at the next public hearing. Commissioner Jones shared that she has understood staff level approvals for the HDC to be projects that do not lead to a change in appearance. Comparatively, Capitol Zoning reviews storm windows administratively. Ratzlaff invited Patricia Blick, Executive Director of the Quapaw Quarter Association, to share her experience with staff level approvals in other preservation -focused local public review bodies. Blick shared administrative approvals build good will with constituents, saving their time and money, and saving the Commission's time. Blick suggests that criteria for administrative approval be clear and concise. She shared that administrative approval for certain projects can be an incentive for property owners to meet the requirements set in the Guidelines rather than experiencing a longer review process with a public hearing at the Commission level. C. NAPC CAMP training opportunity Ratzlaff reminded the Commissioners of an upcoming training opportunity and requested that they provide available dates in order to schedule the training. Patricia Blick shared that a national conference is held biennially by the National Association of Preservation Commissions and is a great training opportunity. D. Enforcement issues Staff reported on issues at 1107 S Cumberland, 1004 S Commerce, and 916 Scott. All issues were resolved with property owners abiding by the permit process. E. Certificates of Compliance HDC2022-015 624 Rock Street — exterior masonry and woodwork repair HDC2022-016 1015 Rock Street — shed outbuilding HDC2022-017 1004 Commerce — demolition of non -historic ancillary structure, fencing replacement HDC2022-018 1107 Cumberland — exterior repairs, soffit replacement F. Citizen Communication 5 There were no citizens that chose to speak during the citizen communication. Commissioner Nunn asked how the City works with properties that have negligent owners who allow their buildings to deteriorate and who do not pay their taxes. Attorney Latimer stated that the process in Little Rock begins with citations through code enforcement. If the property continues to be out of compliance or the owner wants to contest the citations, the case goes to environmental court before Judge Leverett. The court often delays adjudication until the property is in compliance. A lien cannot be placed without a judgement. The state legal system often prevents the City from being able to develop treatments that can be implemented for these types of properties. Demolition is one of the few actions the City can take while the property is in court depending on the condition. Commissioner Nunn asked about properties that have City of Little Rock liens. Attorney Latimer shared the difficulty of gaining a clean title for a property which limits all actions surrounding liens. Ratzlaff stated that, on the other side of the equation for a solution, incentives are used in other cities to make it financially irresponsible to allow a property to deteriorate. VII. Adjournment There was a motion to adjourn, and the meeting ended at 5:12pm. Attest: Chair Date Staff Date 6