Historic Commission Seeks Compromise on Demolition Rules

first_imgMap shows Ocean City’s local Historic District outlined in red, and the State and National Registers of Historic Places outlined in black.The Historic Preservation Commission agreed Tuesday on a recommended compromise on when owners in Ocean City’s Historic District should be allowed to demolish an old home and build new.A current law requires owners who have been denied a demolition permit to list their historic home for sale for six months — part of an effort to make sure they make a good-faith effort to preserve or sell historic structures before demolishing them.The commission had suggested strengthening the ordinance to make the required marketing period 12 months. They agreed Tuesday to a six-month period, as long as two of the months fall in the calendar summer, when the properties would be most visible to potential buyers.Only City Council has the power to change ordinances in Ocean City, and commission representatives will make the recommendation to a City Council subcommittee (which had suggested the compromise).The commission has been working for years on an updated ordinance including many minor “housekeeping” changes, and the demolition provisions are the last sticking points.The proposed new ordinance would require owners to get two appraisals before listing the property. The commission is recommending the listing price be the average of the two appraisals.Commission Chairman John Ball invited public comment only on the proposed changes.But because City Council members had attended the last Historic Preservation Commission meeting and suggested that a smaller Historic District might be more effective, some members of the public came to comment on the district map.District resident Mark Crego (300 block of Ocean Avenue) said the city spent $60,000 to have an expert assess historic properties that were added to the state and federal registers of historic places in 2003. The experts did not add some blocks that are included in the local Historic District.“How about releasing the people who didn’t make the cut?” Crego asked.“We need to find out, ‘Does the city want a Historic District?’ ” said Helen McSweeney, a resident of the 400 block of Central Avenue. “I live there because it’s a beautiful place.”“Whether City Council really wants the district is for them to decide,” Ball said at the outset of the meeting.It remains unclear how serious City Council is about changing the Historic District boundaries. Council members did not share a proposed map with the full Historic Preservation Commission and asked Ball and Vice Chairman Jeff Sutherland not to share it.Councilman Michael Allegretto said the proposed map does not touch the state or federal districts and eliminates some of the areas on the periphery.He said the idea could potentially be part of a discussion at a yet-to-be-scheduled City Council workshop on the topic.Read more:“Historic? Or Just Old? Ocean City Considers Changes to Historic District““How to Demolish History in Ocean City: New Debate on Rules“__________Sign up for OCNJ Daily’s free newsletter and breaking news alerts“Like” us on Facebooklast_img

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