City Council give interim approval to expand Downtown Historic District

_______ solid blue line = proposed Hub City Conservation District Boundaries

------- dashed orange line = study areas outside of National Register District

The Hattiesburg City Council has given interim approval for an expanded Downtown Historic District, and a public hearing was set to consider changing the district’s lines.

The expanded district would add Oaklawn Cemetery, a city parking lot near the railroad depot, Town Square and a little more than three blocks of Mobile Street.

The public hearing to consider the historic conservation district was set for 5:30 p.m. July 17 at the Jackie Dole Sherrill Community Center, 220 W. Front St.

In an email to City Council members, Urban Planning Director Andrew Ellard said the proposal also sets up an interim procedure for any requested structural changes in the historic district.

“Proposals of this nature will temporarily require a Certificate of Appropriateness or a Letter of Compliance prior to the issuance of a building, remodel, or demolition permit,” he said. “The interim procedure is intended to protect the historic character and architectural integrity of the area until such tune that the City Council may make a final decision regarding the designation of a local Historic District and the effective date.”

Changes to the historic district are overseen by the Hattiesburg Historic Conservation Commission, a nine-member board of volunteer citizens who often live in historic neighborhoods to guide and protect the city’s historic resources. They are appointed by the mayor and ratified by the City Council.

Hattiesburg’s Design Guidelines include but are not limited to the following criteria:

•    Exterior alterations should be compatible with the building itself; original design and style must be considered.

•    Signs should be compatible with the building with which it is related; the materials, style, size, and patterns used should be compatible with the building and environment. New construction should usually be compatible with the buildings and environment to which it is related, maintaining the rhythm created by building masses, relationships between windows and doors, materials and texture, and other factors.

•    Demolition in locally designated historic districts is not appropriate, although it may be considered under extenuating conditions. If, for example, the structural stability of a building poses a hazard to public health and safety, or if the conditions of the building are such that rehabilitation is not feasible.

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