Officials Discuss Historic Districts Moratorium

Poplar Springs Historic District Incorporated hosted a town hall meeting on Monday evening to address concerns over proposed changes to Meridian's historic districts.

Dozens of Meridian residents showed up Monday night to voice their concerns to city officials. However, several residents told us they were surprised the meeting was instead to listen to a historical expert from the state who explained the economic impact adopting a local historic moratorium could have. Members of Popular Springs Historic District Incorporated say their mission is to change Meridian's historic districts from national honorary districts to locally controlled districts.

"We want to coordinate our efforts with the city," Poplar Springs Historic District Inc. member James Harwell says. "No one here is against commericialization in town, especially me, being a commercial real estate broker. One of the things we want to head up against is things like annexations out into the county."

Essentially, residents and businesses in historic districts must comply with city guidelines when altering or building property in those historic districts. City council recently voted 3 to 2 in favor of a moratorium to make that change, but it was quickly vetoed by Mayor Cheri Barry. Barry says the moratorum would prevent businesses from opening in historic districts and that would not be good for the city she says.

"And I just look forward to being able to work with our citizens to do what they want," Mayor Barry says. "I work for them, so I really get my direction from the citizens of Meridian. They are the taxpayers."

"It's just a lot of red tape to change what we've got now," City Council President Barbara Henson says. "And we couldn't have done that at a council meeting. A moratorium wouldn't have done that."

Harwell says he is hopeful some sort of compromise can be reached with Barry and other city officials not on board with the measure.

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