Historic preservation ordinance adopted

Sumner City Council members adopted a historic preservation ordinance during their Nov. 17 meeting.

Sumner City Council members adopted a historic preservation ordinance during their Nov. 17 meeting.

The ordinance aims to highlight historic sites in the community and provides criteria used in determining whether a location can be included in the preservation program.

Sumner contains buildings and places listed on the National or State Historic Register or would qualify for the register and preserving the sites benefits the economic development in the community, according to the city.

In the ordinance, a new chapter is added to the Sumner Municipal Code, to form a Historic Preservation Commission.

A Sumner Preservation Commission is established and is to consist of five unpaid members, which are appointed by the mayor and approved by the city council. There will be one member in a one-year term, two members for two-year terms and two members named to three-year terms. Eventually, all positions will be filled for four-year terms.

The commission at all times is to include two professionals with experience identifying and protecting historic property.

The commission is to be responsible for creating a register of historic locations and raising community awareness of Sumner’s history and for being the city’s main source of historical information, planning and preservation.

Another role is serving as a property tax valuation review board, determining whether historic properties are qualified for special valuation and working with property owners to verify they are in compliance with special valuation agreements.

A process for designating property to the Sumner Historic Register is expressed in the written ordinance, stating anyone may nominate a site or district, or object for inclusion in the register. The members of the preservation commission may nominate as well. The commission evaluates whether a potential addition should be included using nomination review standards established in a public meeting and other criteria. If the committee decides to include the addition, it is to recommend to city council it be included with the owner’s consent.

The ordinance became effective five days after passage.

Reach Chaz Holmes at cholmes@courierherald.com or 360-802-8208.

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