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BAR to again be topic at Camden work session

Posted: January 18, 2013 6:33 p.m.
Updated: January 21, 2013 5:00 a.m.

Camden City Council will once again tackle the prospect of transforming the Camden Historic Landmarks Commission (CHLC) into a board of architectural review (BAR) during a 4 p.m. work session Tuesday.

According to a council agenda package, council will take up the BAR proposal at the end of the afternoon work session and focus on several points. First, council will discuss the basic question of whether or not the city still wants to seek Certified Local Government (CLG) status. The CLG designation, granted by the U.S. National Park Service (NPS), would allow the city to be eligible for expert technical advice of NPS state offices; partnerships with the National Alliance of Preservation Commission, Preserve America, National Trust for Historic Preservation and the National Main Street Center; and access to certain federal funding.

If the city still wants the CLG designation, then it must draft the proposed BAR ordinance to allow the city to unilaterally designate properties as historic without an owner’s consent. That is a major change from the current system whereby the CHLC accepts voluntary applications from property owners to be placed under its jurisdiction -- a change that several members of council oppose.

To effect the change, city staff has proposed scrapping Chapter 158 of Camden’s city code, which governs the CHLC, and incorporating the proposed BAR ordinance into Chapter 157 containing the city’s zoning regulations.

If the city decides it does not want to meet CLG requirements, then the CHLC could remain as is, although council could yet decide to make updates to Chapter 158.

Next, council will examine proposed design guidelines to be used by either the CHLC or a possible BAR. Council will discuss whether those guidelines are sufficient, if any changes are needed and even if they need to be completely rewritten.

Finally, council will consider whether or not to hire a consultant to serve in a staff advisory position to either the CHLC or a BAR and what that position’s exact role would be.

Other items on Tuesday’s work session agenda include:

• a timetable to develop the Fiscal Year (FY) 2014 budget, which goes into effect July 1;

• funding for security at this year’s Carolina Cup;

• development of the city’s FY 2014 Community Grant budget; and

• preparations for council’s strategic planning work session, set for Thursday, Jan. 31.

Also during the work session, council will consider cancelling both the work session and regular meeting scheduled for Feb. 12.

Tuesday’s regular 6:30 p.m. meeting is expected to be short. Aside from any possible public forum speakers, council is only set to consider second reading of an ordinance amending and restating the city’s purchasing policies and procedures, and second readings of three ordinances setting final zoning classifications for properties already annexed on Welsh Street.

Both meetings are open to the public and will be held on the second floor of Camden City Hall, 1000 Lyttleton St.

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