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Board considers new law to protect historic properties

In an effort to be proactive, the Fayetteville Village Board wants to enact a historic preservation local law that would help protect and maintain historic districts in the village.

The law would not only allow the village to look at structural defects but also protect the historical value and character of the village. The only difference, according to Craig Polhamus of the Historic Preservation Commission (HPC), is the law would give the HPC the authority to initiate action if there is a violation.

Julian Adams, program coordinator for the Certified Local Government Program (CLG) spoke at the Jan. 12 meeting to discuss the benefits of applying to the program. Adams works for the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation in Albany. The CLG strengthens local preservation by assisting communities in developing an action plan that supports its preservation goals.

"Basically it's to save the historic properties from disappearing altogether," Adams said, noting it would stop the construction of potential strip malls and other buildings that wouldn't fit the neighborhood's character.

Creating a local law can also include expansions; streets, buildings or an entirely new block could be designated historic if they fit the criteria. A survey would be conducted to see of those properties were worthy of protection, and at this point, residents would not have the option to be in or out of a historic district, which was a concern voiced by residents.

Additionally, the CLG program offers grants for restoration that go directly to the government, not property owners, Adams said. The monies come once a year and there are no matching requirements. Its grant budget is $100,000 to $150,000 a year and communities have received as low as $3,000 and as high as $25,000, he said. Additionally, not every applicant is accepted.

The board made a unanimous motion to send the local law to the Onondaga County Planning Agency where it will review the program and send it back with a declaration. From there, the board can formally choose to adopt the law.

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