Reason for historic district request questioned

The nomination for the Fullerwood Park Residential Historic District will undergo state review on July 12th at 1:00 p.m. in Tallahassee; however, after yesterday’s announcement in Historic City News that Planning and Building officials had already completed the nomination, some Fullerwood residents are left scratching their heads.

Long time Fullerwood resident and former County Commissioner, Herbie Wiles asked, “Why did the City do this and who is behind it?”

Wiles says that he and other neighbors are not necessarily against the designation of a Residential Historic District, however, he can’t recall any community meetings since the summer of 2007 where the subject was discussed.

Wiles says that he could understand the nomination — if it came from the residents in the neighborhood, however, he doesn’t believe it has. “I tend to think the neighborhood would be against it,” Wiles said before a meeting with Mark Knight, Director of the City Planning and Building Department. This morning Bill Leary, who lives in Wiles neighborhood, told him that he agreed and thought the neighbors would be against it.

“I was told that there was no sign-in sheet for attendance at those meetings,” Wiles told us after his meeting with Knight. Wiles said former Mayor Gardner, who also lives in the subdivision, “may have mentioned that there was no objection three years ago, but there isn’t any clear record that there was any support, either.”

A city Planning and Building Historic Preservation Planner stressed that owning a home in a National Register District does not place any outside controls from the federal government on your property, which is somewhat true — however, community planning, development and architecture controls placed by a local, county or state government could apply; as well as any federal projects or projects involving Federal funding that could be delayed or prohibited — such as road and infrastructure improvements.

Wiles says he’s interested to hear from Tallahassee about possible FEMA benefits to his neighbors whose home may not currently meet minimum height requirements should they want to add on or remodel, however, the language in the handout says “may” not “will” approve such requests. “It also looks like there might be tax breaks in the twenty percent range for developers who want to build income producing rental property — something Wiles says he’s sure his neighbors would not want.

“The next step is to hold a neighborhood meeting and see what people think, but we can’t do that until we know more details,” Wiles concluded. “If enough people who live in Fullerwood Park want it, fine. Otherwise we should ask the city to withdraw their request.”

Photo credit: © 2010 Historic City News staff photographer

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