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Minutes of Historic Review Committee, 12/04/2014

AGENDA: Historic Review Committee

RECEIVED 12/09/2014 10:57am
Michele R. Grande – Redding Town Clerk


Present: Chairman Robert Dean, Secretary Anda Cumings, Matt Lecher, Alternate Jean Taylor and Alternate Sherry Karraker
Chairman Rob Dean called the meeting to order at 7:35PM.
I. Minutes of Meeting, November 6, 2014
Secretary Anda Cumings presents a summary of the Minutes of the last Committee meeting, held on November 11th. After brief discussion, Matt Lecher motions to accept the Minutes of Meeting of November 11, 2014 as submitted. Anda Cumings seconds. Motion passes unanimously.
II. Administrative Discussion
All present discuss various ideas and concerns that have arisen in the first year of service as the Historic Review Committee. Issues noted include:
1. The first stage paperwork upon submission of a demolition application should include a proper date stamp, so that the Committee is not held responsible for delays encountered by the applicant or the Land Use Office.
2. The 21 day window for action by the Committee is frequently shortened by holidays or the schedules of its Members, all of whom have careers and serve in other Town commissions and organizations. Lengthening the time or changing it to 21 working days may be more reasonable, to ensure the quality of work done on the Committee.
3. The language of the Demolition Delay Ordinance should include a 50 year or older threshold for consideration by the Committee. This provides the Land Use Office with a defined standard for submission of applications to the Committee.
4. Other language in the Ordinance needs to be revised to reduce the risk of legal problems. Ideally, the Committee would have the support of an attorney to develop these revisions. We also need affirmation from the Town that we as individuals within the Committee are indemnified in the event of a lawsuit.
5. The public has a right to know more about the Ordinance, and to understand it and the role of the Historic Review Committee. A copy of the Ordinance should be a part of every real estate purchase. Current owners of antique homes should be aware of the Ordinance for purposes of estate planning as well. Additional publicity is necessary.
6. It would be beneficial for the Committee to be expanded to 5 members.
7. The various consultant reports and documents, photos and other materials gathered as a result of the various prescribed Mitigation Plans need an official repository. The Mark Twain Library does not have space.
8. The Committee should be represented by a budget. The budget should be presented to the Selectmen before the end of the year.

Additional discussion ensues regarding the level of work and the timing of the work to be done by the consultants. All present agree that initially, in many cases, a brief cursory review of readily available data is sufficient with which to make a decision as to calling a Committee meeting, at which time more in depth studies could be requested.
The Committee decides that the following tasks should be performed in the short term:
1. Rob Dean will edit a previously written piece (specifically a section of the letter to the Gravittes of 48 George Hull Hill Road) explaining the Demolition Delay Ordinance and the purpose of the Historic Review Committee, and submit this writing to the Redding Pilot with the aim of informing the public of the existing regulations and the related mission of this Committee.
2. Anda Cumings will contact Jo-An Brooks of the Land Use Office and obtain cost information to develop a budget for the Committee. She will also ask Jo-An that a date stamp be used on all demolition applications, to avoid further question as to the receipt of same.
3. Sherry Karraker will contact Julia Pemberton and inquire regarding Committee indemnification.
Chairman Dean is also working on changing the language of the Ordinance, but this project will take additional time. His proposals will be discussed at a future meeting.

III. Chairman’s Report and Other Concerns
The Committee notes that a new demolition application was submitted earlier in the day to the Land Use office, for structures at 267 Newtown Turnpike. Chairman Dean is to inform the consultants and start the process of determining whether a meeting is to be held concerning this property. Official discussion of this demolition is postponed to such a time as that determination has been made.
Anda Cumings motions that the meeting be adjourned, seconded by Matt Lecher.

The meeting is adjourned at 10:00 PM.

Submitted by:
Secretary Anda E. Cumings