EDITOR’S DESK: Guidance needed for guidelines
They say “the devil is in the details,” and the attempt to create design guidelines that people can use when renovating their older Westside homes is a classic case of
that. If you asked city historic preservation planner Tim Scanlon and members of the Historic Overlay Guidelines Committee (HOGC) how important they think that
effort is, each of them would probably say "very." But when the discussion unavoidably starts drilling down to the various points that must be resolved to actuate the
guidelines, disagreements have a way of emerging. Unfortunately, affairs now have reached the point - as indicated by the story on Page 1 of this issue - where some
members of HOGC and its appointing group, the Organization of Westside Neighbors (OWN) are not just in disagreement with Scanlon, they're practically in combat
mode, going over his head to the City Manager's Office.
In looking at this, it's tempting to back the HOGC because, after all, these are our neighbors and they're busting tail to achieve an end we'll all benefit from. But it's also true that whatever is produced, we'll all have to live with. A key point I have yet to understand is the passionate objections of some HOGC members to the inclusion of commercial buildings. As the project architect himself has noted, entrepreneurs drove the creation of Colorado City. And businesses continue to be vital to our lives here, perhaps moreso than elsewhere in town, because so many of them are independently owned and often found (historically) within our neighborhoods. Furthermore, the preservation of older commercial buildings is as desirable as that of homes. What devil is in these details?