Community Development Adminstrator May Determine Hardship Qualifiers For Certificates Of Appropriateness

While more details must be worked out, the city of Ste. Genevieve’s Heritage Commission will take financial hardship into account when considering future applications for certificates of appropriateness.

At its August 19 meeting, the commission voted to support the idea of adding a financial hardship clause to its regulations once parameters are defined.

At the July meeting, community development administrator David Bova shared some research he had done with the commission. He had reviewed financial hardship considerations in historic preservation ordinances for the Missouri cities of Hermann and St. Charles, as well as those in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and New Orleans, Louisiana.

“I understand why it is necessary,” commission member Frank Myers said. “I have some questions, though.”

Myers said the rough draft Bova had prepared for the commission was “too broad” and questioned whether the commission has the authority “to dig as deep as you’re going to have to dig” into applicants’ financial records to determine the legitimacy of hardship claims, “to make this thing effective.”

“I don’t think, in open session, we should be asking those [financial and medical] questions,” Myers said. “We’re not qualified to judge on the basis of health. I believe this thing should be in the thing, but I don’t think this board should do it. I think it’s a job, probably, for the Board of Aldermen.” …

Commission member Lee Ann Waldvogel and Ward 1 Alderman Gary Smith agreed that they would feel more comfortable if Bova would review hardship requests and make a recommendation to the commission. It would be somewhat similar to the administrative approvals he makes without board authorization.

“It would probably make folks more comfortable, too,” Rausch said.

City administrator Martin Toma agreed that approach would be better for applicants’ privacy.

See complete story in the August 28 edition of the Herald.

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