Kalamazoo Commission Takes Issue With Historic District Bill | WMUK

Kalamazoo Commission Takes Issue With Historic District Bill

Mar 21, 2016

Houses in Kalamazoo's Stuart Neighborhood
Credit Sehvilla Mann / WMUK

The Kalamazoo City Commission has weighed in on proposed changes to Michigan’s laws on historic districts. The city will send a letter to the bill’s primary House sponsor, Representative Chris Afendoulis. When it was introduced, many preservationists said the bill, HB 5232 would make it hard to start or keep a historic district. Some of the proposal’s most controversial ideas have since been removed.

But Kalamazoo commissioners would make some changes even to the revised version. The bill is in the House Committee on Local Government; similar legislation has been introduced in the Senate.

The City of Kalamazoo has five historic districts, which cover about 2070 properties total according to the letter to Afendoulis.

Supporters of the bill have said they want to make sure property owners and local governments have control over creation and management of historic districts. But the city's letter parries the idea that local control is lacking.

"All of these districts were established following requests from the historic neighborhoods in a process that was entirely local," the letter says.