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Posted May 3, 2011 | 10 Comments
Residents speak out against district rules
Vinyl siding, windows among concerns expressed at Strasburg joint meeting
By Sally Voth -- firstname.lastname@example.org
STRASBURG -- The Town Council and Architectural Review Board were told off Monday night by residents who say they don't like being told what to do.
Numerous speakers expressed their disdain for the town's historic district guidelines during a public forum with the two panels.
The council revised the historic district ordinance in June 2009, requiring Architectural Review Board approval to remodel or build new structures in the historic district. However, the guidelines themselves have not yet been adopted.
Vinyl siding and windows were a major concern.
"When you tell people that they can't put siding on their house, you're putting a tremendous financial burden on those people," Diane Smith said. "I don't know why this council thinks they have the right to do that to people. You're putting too much government on us. Let us run our homes the way we want to run them."
Gary Orndorff said his daughter bought her house in August, and he was told by the town he had to stop putting siding on it when he was partially done.
"I would like to know, is there a fine if I continue to go with my siding," he said. "Is it a one-time fine? What's the fine? I will pay the fine."
Town Manager Judson Rex said there isn't a fine. When several people in the audience said some residents had put up vinyl siding since the ordinance had been adopted, Rex said those in the audience should inform him of it.
One woman yelled, "I'm not a tattletale."
"I take suggestions -- I don't like being ordered," Staton Strother said. "The only history I like to study is the history that shows me the mistakes made that I don't want repeated. George Washington could've slept there. I don't care. I sleep there now. History is just what it is, the past.
"If you want to do this thing and put regulations on me, then buy the property and I will move on."
Sue Williams compared the town to a dictatorship.
"Mr. Rex, I don't think you've been here long enough to tell anybody that you're familiar with the historic property in this town, because you haven't," she said. "I have, and I'm not going to listen to you tell me what to do with my property."
Councilman Justin Ritenour said he watched his parents pour money into repainting their home.
"I really apologize [for] where we are at this point now," he said. "You may not have everybody with you, but you know you at least have some folks up here that are rooting for you guys."
Councilman Richard A. Orndorff Jr. said he planned to offer a motion at the next Town Council meeting to start the process of repealing the historic district ordinance until guidelines have been approved.
"The main thing is we're not ripping this community apart because everyone is so angry and upset by what's happened," he said.