By Tom Nash
At the March 25 Board of Aldermen meeting, members used the discussion of the letter to debate whether property owners should be able to opt out of the designation. Ward 1 Alderman Bill Roche said he has heard complaints of homeowners struggling with the commission.
"I have a homeowner in Ward 1 wanting to replace the windows in his house," Roche said. "The Historic Commission wouldn't let him. Homeowners shouldn't have to go through that."
"I think they should have a say in this," he added.
The aldermen also discussed the Curtatone Administration's proposed plan to set aside funds to help homeowners pay for upkeep.
Ward 5 Alderman Sean O'Donovan said he heard a complaint from the family of an 82-year-old homeowner recently presented with notification that his home was being designated as historic.
"I won't be able to support this until there's a mechanism to help people afford (the necessary maintenance)."
Alderman-at-Large Bill White countered that the city stands to lose historic property to new development if opting-out is allowed.
"There are a lot of houses that have been knocked down," White said. "You'd hate to see that happen again in the future."
A hearing on the properties currently slated to be designated historic will take place at City Hall April 6.