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Historic Preservation Commission
(This is an abridged presentation of the 2012 Annual Report; the full report may be accessed here)
List of MHPC accomplishments in 2011
Updated Inventory Photos - Board member Ron Poeter created a digital photo archive of all the individual properties currently listed on our inventory. With the help of Borough engineer Bob Vogel, the photos were loaded into the GIS Mapping System.
Digital Archive CD - Board member John Solu assembled a digital archive of all the materials that were submitted for review and the minutes from the meetings. All of the meeting minutes are posted on the Rosenet web site.
Preservation Seminar - In order to extend our efforts and increase our preservation knowledge, several board members attended two informative seminars that were presented by noted local preservationist, Janet Foster.
Preservation Week Celebration - To acknowledge the preservation efforts of several Madison residents and organizations, John Solu, Mary-Anna Holden, and William Van Ryzin prepared a Preservation Week Poster that was displayed in several downtown windows.
Madison Green Fair Participation – To publicly emphasize the important role preservation plays in environmentally conscious building, board members John Solu and Wm. Van Ryzin attended a day long street fair where they presented informative facts about saving buildings to preserve our environment.
District Oversight - The board carefully reviewed, commented on, and approved numerous applications in Madison’s historic districts (Attachments C & D). The Downtown Historic District and the Bottle Hill District had the most activity. The proposed Maple Avenue District has been withdrawn due to objections and there have been no changes to the current inventory.
Budget Report - $4,300 was appropriated in the municipal budget for the M.H.P.C. for the year 2011. Approximately $1,500 was used to pay for the recording secretary.
The remainder of the 2011 budget appropriation is held in reserve.
Meeting Protocol – The board meetings currently follow standard meeting protocol but we are considering minor changes to improve our performance. The meetings typically cover three categories which are MHPC Initiatives, TCC Application review, and Sign & Façade application review. Due to our busy review schedule our own initiatives are often carried to later meetings so we are considering an annual schedule that will help keep our own initiatives on track.
We have also been asked to act more quickly on sign applications due to the timely needs of business owners. To accomplish this we are considering “e-mail” reviews of small applications that could possibly be acted upon between our monthly meetings if legal counsel agrees.
We are also considering name badges and name plates for board members.
Resource library – We currently maintain a binder that contains our by-laws, inventory list, national design standards, and other pertinent information that we may need to refer to during a project review. We are considering expanding this to include books, magazines, photographs, articles, product literature, etc. that could help us describe our intentions more clearly to applicants.
Promotional Material – We are considering ways to promote the MHPC to the community in an effort to make people better understand our role and perhaps attract interest or new members. The materials might include business cards, posters, or a street fair booth setup.
Legal and professional help – Our board does not have a legal representative present at the meetings. The applicants often do have legal representation. When faced with legal or technical questions outside our knowledge, we are often forced to delay our action until such answers can be found. This can be frustrating for an applicant. Annual review of by-laws and design guidelines – Our busy agenda has made it difficult to find time to review and update our guidelines. We are considering an annual schedule to be more diligent in these efforts, even if it means delaying an application so that we can maintain our standards.
Coordination with and representation from related groups - Several of our members serve on related groups which allows us to incorporate their objectives. We are considering “formalizing” these relationships so that our board has consistent representation. (ie – the sign and façade committee, the ddc, open space, historical society, chamber of commerce, etc.). We are also considering meeting once a year at the historical society in order to maintain a close relationship with them and to take advantage of their resources when making recommendations.
M.H.P.C. goals for 2012
Simplify and speed up our review process – We have had a lot of requests to “speed up” our process and we are eager to accommodate these requests. We have taken several steps to do this while not diminishing the quality of our review. The three things we think are most important are, 1) We email our application requirements to the applicant so they understand what we need for the review, 2) We meet with the applicant to help them prepare the application, and 3) We encourage applicants to prepare “completely digital” applications so that we can email them to the board members for immediate consideration.
Complete more of our own initiatives – The best way to improve our service to the community is to take more initiatives to improve our process. To complete these initiatives we will need more time from our board members and we have to speed up our process so that there is more time for improvements. These initiatives include the administrative initiatives mentioned above, more inventory oversight and or expansion, and finding money to help our cause thru projects and grants.