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Town approves members for new commission

The Town of Corydon earlier this month adopted an ordinance that creates a Historic Preservation Commission and, on Monday night, approved the appointments to the five-member board.
Eva Bates North, president of the town council, recommended Rand Heazlitt, Michael Sams, Olivia Orme and herself as well as a yet-to-be-determined fifth person to the board, as commission members along with Missi Bush-Sawtelle and Janet Zimmerman Bischoff as non-voting advisory members.
North said she had wanted to appoint Leslie Robertson, who owns a building in the downtown historic district, as the fifth commission member, but, according to how the ordinance was passed at the Nov. 14 meeting, commission members must be residents of Harrison Township. Robertson lives west of Ramsey.
The ordinance was created following funding from the Indiana Office of Community & Rural Affairs for two downtown Corydon buildings ‘ $100,000 for the J.J. Bulleit Building and $87,000 for the Stonecipher Building, both located along East Chestnut Street and part of the Stellar Community projects ‘ as part of the state’s Historic Renovation Grant Program.
Grant applicants had to be located within an Indiana Main Street or non-entitlement community to apply for funding between $10,000 and $100,000 not to exceed 35 percent of the project’s total eligible cost. However, after learning it had been awarded the grants, the town learned it couldn’t obtain the necessary permits for the projects due to the buildings being located in the floodplain.
The intent of the Historic Preservation Commission ordinance is ‘to provide a means to promote the cultural, economic and general welfare of the public through the preservation and protection of structures and areas of historic and cultural interest within the Town of Corydon.’
More specifically, the ordinance states that it’s the town’s intention ‘to preserve and protect historic or architecturally worthy buildings, structures, sites, monuments, streetscapes, squares and neighborhoods of the historic districts’ created by the ordinance.
The ordinance, which was unanimously approved Nov. 14, was met with some opposition.
At that meeting, Corydon resident Donn Blank, who owns other properties in the town, questioned why the town council was moving so fast to create the Historic Preservation Commission and said he didn’t like people telling him what to do.
Blake Cromwell, who attended the meeting with his mother, Glenda Cromwell, who lives along North Capitol Avenue, expressed concern that the ordinance will force his mother to pay more for repairs and upkeep of her house.
He also said he has a problem with any commission telling people what they can do with their property and he believed the commission members should be residents of the impacted area.
Neloise Baker suggested there be a provision for private property owners to opt out of the historic district.
According to old records, Corydon established a historic district in 1973. That ordinance was amended in 1989.
‘As for restricting homeowners, that is not the intent’ of the ordinance, North said Monday night prior to the unanimous approval of her recommendations of commission members.
She added that there’s also a ‘wide range’ of colors that can be used on structures in the historic district to establish a pattern and plan within the district rather than an ‘I can do whatever I want’ attitude.
The members for the commission were chosen based on their background in interior and exterior design work, North said.
Now that the ordinance and board members have been approved, North said letters will be sent to property owners in the historic district and public meetings will take place.
The complete ordinance creating the Historic Preservation Commission is available for review at the Corydon Town Hall. Maps that outline the historic district also are available for viewing.