Stone Walls, Preservation, and the Washington County Comprehensive Plan
The battle to bring awareness to historic preservation in Washington County has always been an uphill struggle. To that end, occasionally we must “see and been seen” before our elected political representatives.
The Washington County Planning Department has begun the next cycle of updating the Comprehensive Plan. This is our opportunity to inform our elected officials what we find important about historical
issues in this county.This is where we influence what is changed, improved, or deleted in the updated plan. These decisions direct the course of the county for the next 20 years.
Tell them that stone fences help define the county and are important to you.
Here are a few items we are interested in seeing introduced:
A Western Maryland Preservation Field Office – Washington County has over 4,000 listed historic properties; Frederick, Allegheny and Garrett counties more than double that number. This broad selection of vernacular architecture deserves preservation. We need a local individual with an appreciation of these old structures and the ways in which they can be restored and reused. Property owners need to know how to connect with local craftsmen and properly prepare papers to apply for tax credits. Local communities need to know of historic structures that are available for purchase, and be alerted when historic properties are endangered by neglect or threatened by demolition.
“Preferably Preserved” or “Demolition Delay” – this type of ordnance would allow the Historic District Commission the ability to delay the issuance of a demotion permit for a specified period of time, allowing other interested parties an opportunity to organize and present alternatives. This type ordnance has been proven to be a very effective tool in bringing attention to historic resources before they are destroyed.
We urge you to attend one of the public meetings to tell the county planners why you believe historic structures, sites, landscapes and places are just as important as zoning, economic development, housing, and transportation. It is important that we show up so that our planners know what’s important to us.
At the very least, please take the online participation survey on the county website and give them your comments online:
Upcoming public meetings:
7:00 PM August 19th, 2015, Hancock Town Hall, Hancock
7:00 PM August 24th, 2015, Shafer Park, Boonsboro
6:30 PM September 10th, 2015 at the Library in Hagerstown, 100 S. Potomac St.
First, review Chapter 10 of the “Plan.” Yes, we know it’s a long and exhaustive read with lots of rhetoric. What is important is the content. What is extremely important is what is needed to bring awareness to the value of historic preservation.
Chapter 10 breaks down to:
Historic Advisory Committee
National Register of Historic Places
Certified Local Government
Inclusion in the Comprehensive Plan
Activities to Date
Identification of Resources
Links and Benefits to Economic Development
Links and Benefits to Heritage Tourism
Demolition by Neglect
Observations and Public Opinion and Dispelling Myths
American Planning Association Guidance
Educate and Organize
SEE YOU THERE!!!