Tyler City Council Aims to Preserve Neighborhoods’ ‘Aesthetic Integrity’

Tyler Morning Telegraph, Texas
By MALENA OGLES, Staff Writer

Two measures created to preserve the aesthetic integrity of several Tyler neighborhoods were approved Wednesday by the Tyler City Council.

Council members approved the creation of the city’s first Historic Overlay District bounded generally by Broadway Avenue, College Street, Lindsey Lane and Dobbs Street.

The 19 properties in the newly formed Historic Overlay District will be subject to the same regulations as properties that are designated Tyler Historic Landmarks.

“It needs to be understood this is not about the past. It is about the future of the past,” Bonnie Edmonds, one of the 19 property owners and a supporter of the Historic Overlay District, said.

According to documents from the city’s Planning and Zoning Department, the historic overlay would not affect any external home alterations such as landscaping, repairs and those that do not require a building permit.

The overlay would require any property owner wanting to make exterior alterations or additions that require building permits to obtain a certificate of appropriateness.

Repairs and alterations to historic properties must not damage or destroy materials, features or finishes that are important in defining the building’s historic character, according to information from the Secretary of Interior Standards for Rehabilitation.

Don Edmonds, who initiated efforts to create the district, was able to garner 15 of the 19 signatures or, 79 percent, supporting the overlay. To create the overlay, 75 percent of the residents must support the petition.

Two of the properties within the district, the First Presbyterian Church and the Tyler Women’s Building, are already listed as Tyler Historic Landmarks.

“This is really exciting. This group has worked really hard to see this through and we look forward to seeing more of these,” District 4 Councilman Chris Simons said.

Supporters of the overlay district said the regulations will help preserve property values and the historic feel of the Azalea District.

Council members also approved the formation of a study committee to prepare criteria, standards and guidelines for the creation of the Cumberland Neighborhood Conser-vation District.

Planning and Zoning Director Barbara Holly said the idea of a conservation district is another idea from the Tyler 21 plan to protect neighborhoods that are not 50 years old.

Ms. Holly said the study committee will be comprised of two people from inside the district, a member at large, a historic preservation board member and a planning commission member.

According to information from the city, 70 of the 118 property owners in the area supported the creation of the committee.

“They would look at and determine what is unique and special about the neighborhood and what they want to see preserved within the community.” she said. “The standards can either be in the form of an ordinance or advisory

Ms. Holly said the committee would look at issues such as preservation of open spaces.

Council members also:

# Approved Stormie Phillips as a new public safety telecommunicater for the Tyler Police Department and Jesus Garza as a laborer for the Storm Water Department;

# Awarded Parks and Recreation Department special events coordinator Debbi Isham the Blueprint Blue Ribbon Award winner for May 2009;

# Received a presentation of police badges for the centennial of the Tyler Police Department;

# Designated Tyler Public Library as a Half Mile of History recipient;

# Approved a resolution nominating Delek Refining for a State of Texas Enterprise Zone Project designation award;

# Approved a resolution supporting the Shared Police Emergency Armored Rescue vehicle project and efforts to pursue and accept a grant from the State of Texas;

# Approved a resolution authorizing the application and acceptance of $1.26 million in Federal Transit Administration grant funds for Tyler Transit;

# A resolution finding the necessity for the acquisition of the Tall Timbers’ sewage system for a public purpose and authorizing condemnation for the fee simple interest in the property;

# Authorized a payment of $500,000 to the Texas Department of Transportation for the city’s construction participation for Loop 49 and Texas Highways 155 and 31;

# Authorized the city manager to execute an intergovernmental agreement to lease and sublease with the Tyler Independent School District and Boys & Girls Clubs of East Texas for buildings at Ramey Elementary School and Fun Forest Park for youth activities;

# Approved awarding two bids for the new construction of two-single family dwellings;

# Amended the Tax Abatement Agreement with Trane Residential Systems;

# Approved declaring a lot and the abandoned fire station at the intersection of Old Troup Highway and South Beckham Avenue as surplus property and advertising bids to sell the property;

# Authorized the Tyler Fire Department to apply for the 2009 Homeland Security Assistance to Firefighters Grant.

via Tyler Paper – Tyler Morning Telegraph.

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