Owners of four parcels in the East Rome Historic District got sympathy — but no backing — for their bid to remove the tracts and the extra development regulations that go with the designation.
Rome City commissioners agreed that the boundaries of all five historic districts need to be tightened.
A majority on Monday voted to wait for a survey instead of making piecemeal decisions.
“It’s a complicated issue,” said Commissioner Jamie Doss, as he moved to table action on the applications.
Support came from Commissioners Randy Quick, Milton Slack, Sundai Stevenson, Wendy Davis and Evie McNiece. Commissioners Bill Irmscher and Craig McDaniel were opposed. Mayor Bill Collins votes only to break a tie.
Gary Daniels, Jerry Daniels and Wayne Robinson had asked to remove their properties at 305, 309, 311 and 315 E. Seventh St., which sit at the edge of the East Rome Historic District.
Gary Daniels said the tracts had become an island as nearby Turner McCall Boulevard developed with fast-food restaurants and other businesses over the years. His father, Jerry Daniels, said historic regulations mean new windows for his home would cost $800 each instead of $250.
“The maintenance and repair costs are not comparable to the value of the property,” Gary Daniels said.
Robinson said he developed many of the commercial properties in the area and re-roofed the house on Seventh Street without realizing they were in an historic district.
Historic preservation specialist Brittany Griffin of the Rome-Floyd Planning Office said all of the city’s historic districts are behind on their surveys. State grants are now available for the work, which examines the history and current status of each parcel.
“It’s required every 10 years,” Griffin noted. “But we’re not out of the norm. When the economy crashed in 2008, the state didn’t have the money to give anyone.”
First on the schedule is the Between the Rivers Historic District, which contains 554 parcels. Griffin said it costs $25 to $50 per parcel to draw up a survey. She expects the grant award in February, which will pay 80% of the cost.
The survey could take up to 18 months.
East Rome is second on the list. Oakdene Place, Avenue A and College Heights will follow.
“The consultants will look at each district as a whole before redrawing it,” Griffin said. “They almost certainly will bring in the boundaries.”
Associate Planner Brice Wood said the State Historic Preservation Office used to award grants based on the size of a district, so many cities made their historic districts as large as possible. That policy has changed in recent years, he noted.