Should the City of Marinette change the way Historic Preservation is handled. Alderman Jason Flatt, who works as the City of Green Bay’s Historic Preservation Specialist and is president of the Wisconsin Association of Historic District Commissions explained the proposed ordinance to the City Plan Commission last week. Currently, a local historic designation of a property is initiated by the property owner in Marinette. A federal or local designation opens up certain tax credits for the property owner, but it also requires improvements to the exterior of the property to be approved by the Historic District Commission. Under the proposed ordinance, the Historic District Commission can recommend certain properties or districts be designated, and the City Council makes the decision whether the designation should be made. Once designated, the property owner would have to seek approval for any exterior changes as now is the case, but should the Historic Preservation Commission not agree with the property owner’s proposal, the property owner may appeal to the City Council. Under the changes, the city would be eligible to become a Certified Local Government, which opens up the opportunity for historic preservation grant money.
There was some concern expressed in the Plan Commission discussion about whether the change could infringe on property owners rights. It was passed on to the City Council on a 4-3 vote for further discussion there.