As president of the Summerville Neighborhood Association, I would like to respond to the editorials and letters published recently concerning the Historic Preservation Commission and the Summerville Neighborhood Association.
First, the Summerville Neighborhood Association is not connected to the Historic Preservation Commission. The Historic Preservation Commission is appointed, with each Augusta-Richmond County Commissioner and the Richmond County legislative delegation making the appointments. However, the SNA does support the Historic Preservation Commission as the best way to ensure compliance with preservation guidelines.
The SNA rarely becomes involved with petitions presented to the Commission and then only when requested to do so by neighbors affected by the petitions. As one would expect, when residents have differing opinions concerning their property, the issues often become highly emotional. When petitions are denied or changes required, homeowners sometimes become bitter.
In his letter, Bernard Dunstan protested the Commission's authority to approve or disapprove house colors. Obviously, Mr. Dunstan has not read the Summerville Historic Guidelines; page 89 states: "The Preservation Commission does not have jurisdiction over paint colors, but can give advice and help." A recent editorial cartoon in The Chronicle showed enforcement officials approaching a Summerville home because of non-approved wallpaper. Again, the Commission has no jurisdiction over wallpaper or any interior work; the guidelines cover only exterior renovations, demolition and new construction.
John Pope Jones stated that the Commission had denied his petition to build a garage at his Kings Way residence. Actually, the Commission did, in fact, easily approve his petition, however, the Board of Zoning Appeals denied his request for a variance because the project did not comply with Richmond County zoning codes. ...
The Summerville Neighborhood Association, which has no decision-making authority, has not done an adequate job of educating our neighborhood and the rest of Augusta about the Summerville Historic District guidelines and the role of the Historic Preservation Commission in interpreting them. This will be addressed. In the meantime, we urge the mayor and the commissioners to allow a cooling off period so neighbors and elected officials can learn the facts concerning the issues and know what is really happening. ...
Stewart Flanagin, Augusta
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