Town discusses ordinance addressing old but not historical buildings

Protecting the town from scrapers

By Mark Reaman

The Crested Butte Town Council will consider an ordinance in January that would declassify some buildings in town as historical. The issue has come up since buildings that turn 50 years old are technically classified as “historic buildings” under the town code. But those constructed after 1952 are not part of the town’s “Period of Significance” and don’t necessarily add to the town’s historic patina.

Under the proposed ordinance, some buildings in Crested Butte could be declassified and demolished under a strict review that includes the requirement for a rehabilitation and redevelopment plan. In other words, buildings could not simply be scraped and replaced by developers.

“This will create standards for qualifying buildings that are deconstructed and require significant recycling of the old buildings,” explained Crested Butte community development director Michael Yerman.

Longtime resident Sue Navy commented at the December 17 council meeting that just because a house is not quite historic doesn’t mean it should be destroyed. “Houses built in the 60s, 70s and 80s are part of the town charm. Some of these older houses provide context for the town,” she said.

Yerman agreed with that but felt the proposed ordinance could protect the town. He described it as one of the most important ordinances the council will consider next year. “It is not an ordinance made to allow scraping,” he said. “It creates a review criteria where there is none.”

Town attorney Barbara Green said it was a complicated ordinance. But it would not allow for the creation of raw land for sale where a structure currently exists. There needs to be an approved plan for the space before any demolition takes place. Councilman Kent Cowherd said that while he generally is supportive of the ordinance, it could be further fine-tuned.

Council will consider it again at the January 22 meeting. In the meantime, public comment on the proposed ordinance is encouraged.

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