Belleair - The historic preservation board at their last meeting met with the first effects of the town's historical preservation ordinance, which passed November 25. Two historic homeowners have asked the town to be de-designated from Belleair's list of historic properties.
The board busied themselves with the need to list the benefits owners of historic homes in Belleair will come to enjoy in spite of complications with insurance companies and having to adhere to preservation codes when repairing their structures.
Along with board members, Cliff Zurkan, Don White, G. Michael Harris, Maggie Douglas and Wendy Sanders was commissioner Bonnie Ruggles, town manager Steve Cottrell and attorney Nancy Stroud, who wrote the town's preservation ordinance.
Said Stroud of the historic homeowners benefits; "There are several already in existence and several that could." Stroud explained that the historical preservation ordinance has positioned the town to apply for grants to promote preservation.
"There are government programs to make it easier for owners," she said.
The properties designated on the register will get additional benefits in the form of those grants plus tax benefits and a pass on certain permit fees the town can waive.
Stroud said "Historically designated homes do get a break in the building code if repairs are done in accordance to the preservation code."
In addition Stroud said, "The town can provide for property tax relief to designated residents and also work with the county, if the county has that already set up."
The two homeowners who asked to be removed from the list cited difficulties in obtaining insurance as a reason for their request. "Insurance companies vary company by company. I think some technical assistance to help owners negotiate with companies would benefit them," said Stroud.
Stroud said the historical preservation ordinance outlines the procedure for property owners who want to take their homes off the list. "The requirements for de-designation are the same as for nomination to the list. First a recommendation is made by the historic preservation board. A notice of hearing is held. And the town commission decides."
Stroud suggested the board make an appeal to the Belleair town commissioners to begin examining all that's available state and countywide. The next meeting of the historical preservation board will be held January 24 at 4 pm.
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