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Ormond Beach Observer Tuesday, Jun. 26, 2018 4 months ago

City working to close loophole in land development code involving homes in historic landmarks list

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Some homeowners are hopping in and out of the list to bypass certain regulations.
by: Jarleene Almenas News Editor

In an effort to stop homeowners from evading a $600 fee when making significant updates and renovations to properties in the city's historic landmark list, the City Commission is considering removing the list from Ormond Beach's land development code and creating a new ordinance.

The loophole had become apparent in the last few months as some property owners asked to be removed from the list, which there is no fee for currently, to renovate their properties, bypassing the requirement to obtain the costly Certificate of Appropriation from the city. Staff brought the Commission four options to remedy the issue, though it and the Historic Landmark Preservation Board recommended an implementation of a $200 fee to get on and off the list.

The other options were to leave it as is, implement a different monetary fee or remove the list from the land development code. The last option however, was not included in the agenda packet for the meeting on Tuesday, June 26, which various commissioners pointed out. The Cit Commission voted unanimously to table the discussion and let the Historic Landmark Preservation Board vet the fourth option.

“My concern is that the way our rules are set up right now, that would be three actions of the city that benefit a property owner — that cost the property owner nothing — circumvent our rules, the purpose of our rules and we spend a lot of time and energy on that," Zone 1 City Commissioner Dwight Selby said.

He added that he believes property owners should not be penalized with a fee for wanting to join the historic landmarks list, but that once on it, they should pay all the costs associated with it. It costs the city approximately $600 to add or remove a property to or from the list. Since 2008, nine properties have been added and three removed. 

Selby said that he's heard that some owners claim they weren't aware their property was on the list when they bought it, and therefore want to be removed, but that he didn't fully believe that. 

“There’s a plaque on the house,” Zone 2 City Commissioner Troy Kent said.

Under the current land development code, owners of properties on the list, and those who own homes built before 1950, need a Certificate of Appropriation to make a major alteration to the property, such as exterior upgrades or demolition of an original structure. Minor upgrades like updating windows, doors and light fixtures only need approval from the Historic Landmark Preservation Board.

“I think taking our time with this and getting it right is the best option," Mayor Bill Partington said.

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