Due to the "Steeple Issue", Preservation SOS had asked the city that a discussion be started to address future issues like this where structures that were listed as noncontributing but indeed did contribute to the overall community could be protected from things like the removal of a steeple. The idea was to at least get community input before approve such things.
While PSOS kept asking about it, the city kept saying it was being worked on, but never indicated anything formal was being done. SPAR indicated that it was also being worked on and promised, as did the city, that PSOS would be involved. A few days ago, the results of at least one meeting involving SPAR, RAP and the HP department were finally distributed.
It seems to me that this is being handled via a policy change (I don't think this has to go past the HPC to be approved and used.). Various things can be approved by the historical department administratively and various things must be taken to the Historic Preservation Commission (HPC). At the time of the removal of the steeple, the policy was that things like this were handled on a case by case basis administratively. Based on the new policy being proposed to the HPC this coming week, major changes like removing the steeple will now have to be decided by the HPC. However, noncontributing structures like this church can still be demolished with adminstrive approval. Which means it will be easier to tear down the church than to remove the steeple.
Below is the three sections I belive concern the Steeple Issue.
a. Accessory structures that are not architecturally significant and are deteriorated
b. Non-contributing structures (307.106a)
c. Demolition of a feature/space that is not architecturally significant or street visible
d. MCC emergency declared NOTICE TO JHPC REQUIRED BY NEXT MEETING
a. Contributing structures
b. Demolition of a significant feature
c. Unclassified (contributing/non-contributing) structures
d. Architecturally significant accessory structures
32)Alterations to non-contributing structures built outside the period of significance
a. Small/cosmetic changes such as the installation/ replacement of railings, window replacement and door replacement
b. Work that restores the historic appearance that is documented through pictorial, historic, physical evidence (see Restoring missing features)
c. When the proposed work does not negatively impact the historic design or overall character and otherwise meets the Regulations
a. Larger scale changes that affect setbacks, wholesale change of style, and changes height
b. Wholesale changes in materials
33) Alterations to non-contributing structures built within the period of significance
REVIEWED CASE BY CASE
While we, as a historic district, get something we need, it is done a bit off. This is what one would expect when the organization helping to make the changes (SPAR) is also the organization that not too long ago thought demolition was a positive thing for Springfield.
The meeting next Wednesday of the HPC is becoming important as while the above issue is important by itself, there are several changes being proposed by SPAR that are in the hindering not helping way of doing things and the community needs to step up and stop the nonsense.