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Design guidfelines for proposed BAR focus of public input meeting

Posted: September 21, 2012 7:30 p.m.
Updated: September 24, 2012 5:00 a.m.

The Camden Historical Landmark Commission (CHLC) and city of Camden staff met Thursday evening to discuss revised design guidelines that could be used by a proposed board of architectural review (BAR).

CHLC Chair Laurie Parks said the group has asked for an updated guidebook for several years. Now that the city is updating its zoning ordinance to include historic preservation, the city is able to update the guidelines, Park said. The current guidelines were set in 1987. The guidelines can be found at Camden City Hall, but are usually given to citizens who come before the CHLC for a review, depending on how many changes will be made to the home.

City Planner Shawn Putnam and Carrie Giauque, of C&K Historic Consulting, have worked together in hopes of updating the guidelines during the past year. Thursday, Giauque took questions and suggestions from CHLC members -- Parks, Vice-Chair Rick Trott and Norma Young -- and Camden residents on the new “more streamlined” design guidelines. Giauque said she looked at guidelines from other areas similar to Camden, as well as the guidelines of larger cities, to create a draft for Camden. The preservation standards haven’t changed much in the last several years, she said, but the newer guidelines will address new construction in the historic area, as well as energy conservation. Giauque has worked on historic nominations and historic research, and is in the process of working with the Yawkey Foundations of Georgetown County to rewrite its visitor guide.

“It was helpful, because I’m not a resident of Camden. It is important to have residents’ input. I’m looking forward to talking with city council and the next revision,” she said. “Once the Board of Architectural Review is put into place there will be changes to make.”

Giauque will be present during Tuesday afternoon’s city council work session which is open to the public.

CHLC members suggested more localized guidelines to suit the needs of Camden residents and those moving to Camden. Although the CHLC is pushing for online guidelines, there will be some available in print. Giauque and the commission discussed artwork throughout the guidelines, and Giauque suggested drawings for long-term use.

“It is a great beginning,” Parks said. “We brought good ideas to the table, and it was very helpful to the commission that we were able to talk with (Giauque). We have to wait on BAR before finalization, but it’s a good start.”

Putnam said he was happy with the conversation between the consultant and the public about the guidelines.

“I’m pleased with the guidelines; it is an improvement of the existing version,” he said.

The city will most likely approve the guidelines when the ordinance on BAR is approved, Putnam said.

Camden resident Jim Melton said he attended the meeting to get a better idea of what the new design guidelines will entail. He and Trott said there should be individual guidelines for homes in certain age ranges.

New guidelines are based on the Secretary of the Interior's Standards for Rehabilitation and Guidelines for Rehabilitating Historic Buildings, published by the U.S. Department of Interior and the National Park Service. The current design guidebook is 145 pages; the revised version Giauque presented to the board is 25.   

The BAR would replace the CHLC, allowing the city to meet requirements for Camden to become a Certified Local Government (CLG). CLG status would give the city access to advice from the U.S. National Park Service (NPS) and the NPS’s South Carolina historic preservation office. The city might also have access to various national preservation groups, such as National Trust for Historic Preservation.

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