Friday, September 20, 2019

Adjusting historical designation for some not so historical buildings in CB

Protecting a neighborhood’s mass and scale

By Mark Reaman

Calling it one of the most important ordinances the Town Council might see in the next five years, Crested Butte community development director Michael Yerman is suggesting the council allow some older buildings in town to not be classified as historical.

The issue has come up since buildings that turn 50 years old are technically classified as “historic buildings” per the town code. The code was enacted to protect parts of Crested Butte on the National Register of Historic Places. But historical surveys make it clear that the town’s historic district “Period of Significance” relates to buildings constructed between 1880 and 1952. Some buildings constructed after that 1952 date were poorly built and not energy efficient and do not contribute to the town’s National Historic District designation.

Yerman said the town has received several requests to declassify buildings that are between 45 and 50 years old to prevent the stringent historic designation design review process. The proposed ordinance would allow for such a declassification under strict review.

“Doing this doesn’t mean you can just go and scrape off a building,” Yerman said at the November 19 meeting. “If you do get a building declassified and want to demolish a structure, strict demolition requirements are imposed. There needs to be an approved plan for the space and there are beefed-up recycling requirements for the building that is coming down. I think this ordinance protects in-fill development. It protects the mass and scale of a neighborhood.”

The Board of Zoning and Architectural Review (BOZAR) would be responsible for reviewing any declassification request. The ordinance will not allow for the creation of raw land for sale, nor will it allow for the loss of deed-restricted housing.

A public hearing on the issue was set for December 17.

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