Measure helps save historic structures

Sep 30 2011 - 10:49pm

FARMINGTON -- Those interested in restoring or preserving a historic structure in this city will see a bit more flexibility in the options available to them.

City leaders have added another tool to zoning text amendments regarding historical buildings, with an eye on being able to preserve some of the city's historic structures.

The city council voted 5-0 recently to amend the special exception ordinance for historic buildings, which will allow someone to potentially restore or preserve a historic building for what is termed a "viable adaptive reuse."

Under the special exception guideline, those viable reuses are limited to office space or residential.

"It's another tool to preserve our historic buildings," David Petersen, community development director, said of the change.

Petersen admitted the special exception will probably not be heavily used in the next decade, but he estimated it could help preserve or save two or three historic structures in the coming years.

Mayor Scott Harbertson said the mix of historic buildings throughout the city is something people note. No matter where he goes, when discussion of Farmington comes up, people mention the historic look of the community, he said.

"It's a good use we want to have," Harbertson said of the ongoing mix.

Councilman Jim Talbot is eager to preserve history, too, but he said he worries the new guideline might not go far enough in dealing with the entire property, particularly landscaping.

Petersen assured him the planning commission could potentially put landscape requirements into any reuse option in the future.

Councilman Sid Young also worried the rule could potentially lead to a viable reuse of a building that would change the look or feel of a neighborhood.

Petersen assured him that limiting the reuse options will go a long way in preserving the neighborhood.

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