Panel approves preservation measure, guidelines including new set of application review fees
By Preston Knight -- firstname.lastname@example.org
STRASBURG -- The Town Council passed an ordinance establishing a historic district, and approved a set of guidelines for it, a during its regular monthly meeting Tuesday night.
Elected officials, town staff and members of the Planning Commission and Architectural Review Board have worked for many months on the partner projects, relying heavily on public comment, which was critical at first and grew to be receptive with changes made.
The council voted 6-1 in favor of the ordinance, and 5-2 for the guidelines.
Councilman Justin Ritenour voted against both, stating after the vote on the guidelines that he was principally against it. Councilwoman Sarah Mauck joined him in voting down the guidelines -- she had asked for another month before voting so the public could review recent minor revisions made to them by the commission and review board.
"I don't think four more weeks will make a difference," Mauck said.
Councilman Carlyle Swafford was absent Tuesday.
The ordinance establishes a new set of application review fees, including $30 for any major modifications when a certificate of appropriateness is required and $60 for demolition, new construction, additions, movement or relocation.
"Historic preservation is an evolving process that seeks to balance the public mission of historic preservation with the private property rights of individual owners," it states. "As a result, some modification decisions are left to the wisdom of property owners while others merit regulation."
General review criteria for projects include the guidelines, which are available for download at www.strasburgva.com or by request at the town office; the compatibility of the proposed change to surrounding properties; and the impact on the natural environment.
Also Tuesday, the council voted to approve the northern Shenandoah regional water supply plan and a drought response ordinance that goes with it. The plan, which is under review in a number of area jurisdictions, was prepared by the Northern Shenandoah Valley Regional Commission, which must submit it to the Department of Environmental Quality by Nov. 2, a staff memo states.