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Reader: Preserve our HPC

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Letter to the Editor

During the sad removal of property from the Fifth Avenue Historic District, the subject was broached of taking the power away from the Rome Historic Preservation Commission. A city commissioner stated that the HPC would be monitored and then decisions would be made. This is nothing more than an attempt by real estate agents, developers and others to take power away from the HPC. All the above mentioned people want the Rome City Commission to make decisions by setting guidelines that the HPC is to follow in making decisions. This move would doom most preservation efforts for years.

The Fifth Avenue Historic District would have remained in the historic district and the real estate people and churches would have worked with the HPC to remove just certain houses from the historic district. Unfortunately, it is much easier to just work with the city commission. We have several on the city commission who love anything developers bring before them. Sad.

Now, the kicker to all of this is the fact that the City Commission can’t take powers away from the Rome HPC. The State of Georgia Historic Preservation Commission controls local HPCs. The power to set up local HPCs was granted by the State of Georgia. This means the Rome City Commission cannot take away powers from the Rome HPC and cannot give themselves final say so over matters that the State of Georgia gave the Rome HPC in the early 1970s. The only legal thing to do is just to disband the Rome HPC. We cannot let this happen. I challenge each of you to email each city commissioner and tell them, “Hands off the HPC. Preserve our neighborhoods, save our city.”