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'H word' uttered in Sharpsburg

June 02, 1998|By JULIE E. GREENE

SHARPSBURG - Architectural guidelines being considered by the Sharpsburg Town Council hit a major snag Monday night when the town attorney said it would require creation of a historic district.

Some council members said the guidelines don't have a chance at being adopted now that "the big H word" has been spoken.

Councilman Russell Weaver said after the monthly council meeting that residents are opposed to the unnecessary government restrictions that come with a historic district.

When the town adopted rezoning laws in 1973, there was a public outcry against historic zoning, Weaver said.

"You've already heard the hysteria about historic control," Weaver said during the meeting. "My preference right now would be to throw it in the trash can."

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Vice Mayor Sidney Gale and Councilwoman Denise Troxell said they didn't want to give up in fairness to people who want the architectural guidelines.

The guidelines would protect people from extremes, Troxell said. Under current law there is no way to prevent someone from building an A-frame house next to a house with a more historical design, she said.

Two residents in the audience said they wanted the issue brought before the public in a referendum during the Nov. 17 election.

Councilman Ralph Hammond said he didn't think the guidelines would survive long enough to go to referendum now that a historic district is needed.

Mayor George Kesler said the town's planning and zoning officials will be given a chance to fiddle with the proposed architectural guidelines so they can work.

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