Historic Preservation Commission Unveils Revised Design Guidelines for Downtown

The Salida Historic Preservation Commission (“HPC”) has been in existence since July, 2002. The Commission was created by the City Council to protect the historic integrity of the Downtown Salida Historic District. In order to accomplish this goal, the HPC undertakes a variety of duties including reviewing development applications for exterior changes, providing educational workshops and creating detailed design guidelines to help guide rehabilitation and new development in the downtown.

In reviewing development applications, the HPC uses the Secretary of the Interior’s Standards for Rehabilitation as well as the Downtown Salida Design Guidelines. Over the past eight years, the HPC has reviewed over 70 applications for exterior alterations or additions on local landmarks or sites within the downtown. During that time they have noted changes and clarifications that should be incorporated into the Guidelines. A draft of the revised document is now available for review incorporating the changes and suggestions of the Commission over the past eight years.

Of note in the draft Guidelines is a new process for consideration of economic hardship. This application will allow the HPC a mechanism to consider relaxation of appropriate techniques or materials if it can be shown that those requirements would be overly financially burdensome and an alternative could be found that would not impair the integrity of the district or historic resource.

The Guidelines also contain a thoughtful explanation of the importance of historic preservation and how preservation of the Downtown helps to bolster our local economy. Benefits of preservation include maintaining our unique and attractive Downtown, reduction of environmental impacts by reusing existing materials and resources, stabilization and increase in property values within the district, attraction of heritage tourists and jobs for local construction workers and craftsmen.

The draft guidelines are available on the City website on the Historic Preservation Commission page. The HPC will hold a public hearing on the guidelines on Thursday, August 26th at the City Council Chambers, 448 E. First Street. The meeting begins at 5:00 p.m. Comments or suggestions are welcome at the meeting or may be submitted to me in advance.

Following a recommendation from the HPC, the guidelines will be reviewed by the City Council. It is anticipated that review will occur in September. Anyone interested learning more about the design guidelines or the development review process in the downtown is encouraged to review the draft guidelines and attend any of the upcoming public hearings.

Another way to get involved is to consider joining the Historic Preservation Commission. There are currently openings available for one regular member and two alternates on the Commission. Applicants should have a strong interest and some experience in the field of preservation. Applications to join the HPC can be found on this website under City Government – Participate.