City of Westfield takes no action on establishing historic preservation commission

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By Matthew Kent

City leaders in Westfield have tabled an ordinance that would establish a historic preservation commission.

Westfield City Council members agreed to take no action on the matter during its June 27 meeting. The proposal was brought to the council in March by Indiana Landmarks Association Vice President Mark Dollase, who described it as an avenue to protect historic buildings or districts in the future.

Under the proposed ordinance, the city of Westfield’s intent would be to “preserve and protect historic or architecturally buildings, structures, sites, monuments, streetscapes, squares and neighborhoods of the historic districts” that would be created if it were passed.

In addition, the ordinance stipulates the commission would have the authority to acquire, gift, bequest or lease any real or personal property. It could also sell, lease, rent or dispose of property as necessary, according to the ordinance.

When the proposal was brought forward earlier this year, residents voiced concern that the commission could result in government overreach. Concerns were also lodged over what the funding source would be for the commission and how much power it would have to approve or deny aesthetic changes within the city’s historic district.

At least one council member suggested waiting to take action on the proposed ordinance, saying the issue comes down to how to protect property owners’ rights.

The council’s next meeting is scheduled for 7 p.m. July 11 at Westfield City Hall.

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