Historic District Commission
Meeting Minutes
Wednesday, February 26, 2020

Members present: Doug Walker, Chairman; Kathy Scott; Scott Oliver; Anne Howe
Members absent: Noel Greiner, Vice Chairman; Tom Weller
Members of the public: Erin Hammerstedt; Don Scott

Meeting called to order at 7:05 pm.

Meeting Minutes of January 22, 2020
Members moved and voted unanimously in favor to approve the minutes as submitted by Kathy Scott.

Rules of procedure
Members received copies of the draft Rules of Procedure as prepared by the subcommittee. Mr. Walker noted that the subcommittee looked at the Rules of Procedure of the Harrisville Planning Board, as well as sample historic district regulations from the Town of Bedford, NH for adaptation. Members will review the draft and submit comments to Mr. Walker.  Members also reconfirmed that, according to RSA 676:1, Rules of Procedure can be adopted by members at a regular meeting. The subcommittee will share the draft with Charles Sorenson for input. Following completion and approval of new Rules of Procedure, the subcommittee will begin work to update the HDC regulations governing applications.  In a similar approach to the Rules of Procedure, the subcommittee will evaluate regulations in place in other historic districts.

Separately, Mr. Walker suggested providing prospective applicants with copies of previous submissions, including plans, drawings, photographs and specific project descriptions, so that applicants may better understand from the outset the information needed by the board. This may prevent unnecessary delays in processing of applications.

Inventory project
Anne Howe updated members on the status of the inventory project, begun by Historic Harrisville Intern Greg Socinski. She continues to update information on the distinguishing architectural features of historic properties and to document the history of changes. Ms. Howe noted what information from the National Historic Landmark District designation is in the state database, and what needs further review and updating.

Members discussed the potential benefits of the town’s applying to be a CLG (Certified Local Government) through the NH Department of Cultural Resources, which would provide the town access to a licensed surveyor to update historic property records. This also would allow for a certain level of funding and technical assistance. Ms. Howe recommends this step, including for the reason that it demonstrates to the state and federal governments the town’s commitment to historic preservation; however, as it could take up to a year to receive surveyor services, she recommends continuing with the inventory project whether or not the application is filed.  The consensus was, as long as there are willing volunteers, the board should move ahead with inventory work and not wait for a certified surveyor through CLG.

The cost-free application for CLG status would have to be submitted by the town. Kathy Scott and Doug Walker will pull together the application and submit it to the Select Board for consideration and review. HHI offered to help if needed. It is a rolling application. Separately, Doug Walker and Don Scott have offered to photograph the properties. Anne Howe hopes to complete the inventory by late June. During discussion, it was noted that other organizations offering different types of preservation grants include LCHIP, Save America’s Treasures and the 1772 Foundation. Also noted was the desired focus of the HDC on protecting the character defining features of structures and historic districts, to focus on what is special now, and what should be protected from here forward.

Other
The NH Preservation Alliance Old House and Barn Expo is March 21stand 22nd in Manchester.
March 21 and 22nd– NH Preservation Alliance’s Barn Conference.

Anne Howe is drafting a submission for the 150thCommemorative Book. She asked HDC members to respond to survey questions to help her prepare the submission.

The meeting adjourned at 9:05 pm.