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Historic inventory to be updated

By Staff | Apr 29, 2011

Monday the Shepherdstown Planning Commission heard a report from a historic preservation consultant who will update the town’s historic inventory surveys with about 10 sites along the Town Run.

Town officials hired David Taylor, of Taylor and Taylor Associates in Brookeville, Pa., to update and digitize the town’s historic inventory, which last survey was conducted about 30 years ago, said Zoning Officer Harvey Heyser.

“There were many things in the Town Run ravine area that were not on the historic inventory,” Heyser said.

The town contracted Taylor a few years ago to do new research and update its historic inventory forms, and this addendum contract for the ravine work, which is to prepare new inventory forms, is worth $2,500, Heyser said.

Taylor said the area was not well documented in the surveys conducted in the 1970s and then again in the 1980s. He said that the National Register of Historic Places, which the Shepherdstown Historic District is registered under, is “primarily honorific,” though he said being listed on it can provide tax credits to property owners and oversight if state or federal money is being used in a project.

But he said that the Town Run itself cannot be designated as a historic feature.

“You can’t designate natural features. The National Register is based on cultural features,” Taylor said. “But we can designate stuff along the run.”

Taylor also mentioned to the planning commission a “recommendation for thought,” which he said carries a cost.

He said the town’s registry district was set up in the 1970s and was revised and expanded in the 1980s. He told the commissioners that a property is considered “historic” at 50 years.

“As much as it pains me to report, that takes us into the early 1960s, which I remember vividly,” Taylor said.

This means properties built before 1962 can be included.

Taylor said properties not recognized since the last boundary adjustment could now be considered. He said the town could consider applying for a boundary revision, such as a 60/40 grant, in which the town would have to come up with 40 percent of the funds.

“You’d probably want to consider something in the range of $10,000 to do this,” Taylor said.

But Heyser said on Tuesday, the day after the planning commission meeting, that the town was not in pursuit of funding at this time.

Also at Monday night’s meeting, commissioners Karene Motivans and Kathryn Bragg-Stella presented on their work to an update to Title 9’s fence section. Planning commissioners are currently updating sections of Title 9, which they will take to Town Council and put through a public hearing in the coming months.

Commissioners also passed all applications at the meeting, including the first installation of photovoltaic solar panels to an out building constructed in 2004 along Washington Street.

The next planning commission meeting is May 16.