Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Casa Grande may redo preservation ordinance

[Source: Harold Kitching, Casa Grande Dispatch] -- Following complaints from the Central City Redevelopment District Subcommittee that the city historic preservation ordinance is not particularly effective, Casa Grande will study possible changes. The issue came up when subcommittee members raised questions about the deteriorating condition of the 1903 Meehan-Gaar house on First Street (pictured), the 1927 former mortuary building at Eighth Street and Olive Avenue and the 1939 pueblo deco train depot on Main Street. During a study session on preservation, subcommittee Cochairman Bob Mitchell told the City Council that the present ordinance, besides lacking teeth for enforcement, applies only to buildings designated as historic landmarks or in historic districts. It was pointed out that there are other buildings in the city in poor shape that would not be covered. "To my knowledge, the Evergreen district is the only historic district we have, so we really don't have an ordinance that can deal with these additional homes that aren't in a historic or that the council hasn't declared a landmark property," Mitchell said.

"I'd like to see something in an ordinance that at least if it's listed on the state historic preservation list and also maybe the national, they might be eligible for the work to be done by the historic preservation committee." Mitchell said that in looking through ordinances and policies of other Arizona cities he found they have a person designated for inspections, citations and enforcement. "As you read through this (Casa Grande) ordinance, there is no one. It's the Historic Preservation Commission," which has no real enforcement powers, he said. "It talks about what the penalties are, and it's a class 2 misdemeanor, which means that you could be fined up to a thousand dollars and you have to bring the property back to the proper condition. However, there's no one to determine what that proper condition is, what the prior condition was, there's no one sent out to do any of the kinds of things that this ordinance has given the city the authority to do. So, those are some of problems we have." [Note: To read the full article, click here.]