MuskogeePhoenix.com, Muskogee, OK

Opinion

February 5, 2013

Rules change preserves process

— City officials did the right thing when they approved revisions to the criteria to determine whether to allow historic buildings to be torn down.

Muskogee, particularly downtown, has too many buildings in need of repair or demolition.

The ordinance revises procedures for the Historic Preservation Commission to determine whether historic buildings can be demolished.

It also soothes issues the commission and the City Council had with each other over the demolition request for the S.H. Kress building and the old Bully Good building.

The owner of the Kress building wanted to demolish the building.

The commission said no.

The owner went to the council and got the ruling overturned.

The commission green lit the demolition of the Bully Good building in what appeared to be a surrender to the council’s authority.

The revised rules allow the commission to use economic feasibility as a criteria for making its rulings.

It also requires any owner wanting to present new evidence in an appeals process to present that evidence to the commission first.

The revised rules should help balance councilors’ concerns with commissioners’ duties.

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