Exactly how to address potential financial hardship cases was tabled by the city of Ste. Genevieve Heritage Commission at its October 21 meeting.
It will be revisited during the November meeting
The commission has been looking into the possibility of introducing a financial hardship exemption that would allow certain property owners to make less expensive, but less historically accurate repairs or renovations.
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.
The commission asked community development administrator David Bova to bring more specific parameters to the next meeting.
“Unnecessary hardship” would be defined by U.S. Department of Health and Human Services standards, although outstanding medical or educational expenses could also be figured in.
The commission had agreed in August that it would prefer the community development administrator determine the eligibility of each applicant and make a recommendation one way or the other to the commission.
Bova reported back, reading a proposal that “this board then could, in passing their application, have the power to vary or modify adherence to the article, as long as we ensure harmony with the general purpose of the historic preservation ordinances, that we preserve the basic form and rhythm of the structures and that it will not adversely affect the historic district as a whole, or any designated landmark.”
Board member Frank Myers asked who would be able to apply. Bova replied that it would only be for property owners wishing to renovate, rehabilitate or repair a building, not for additions or new construction.
“I can see this with many of our citizens that have reached a stage where they don’t have the money to repair it as they would like to do,” Myers said. “I don’t have that same feeling for a landlord that just bought the property to fix it up as cheap as he can and rent it.”
Bova said that no stipulation had been included on how long a person had to own the property before being eligible to apply for financial hardship.
See complete story in the October 30 edition of the Herald.