Dover Mulls Eliminating Historic District Commission - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Dover Mulls Eliminating Historic District Commission

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DOVER, Del. (WBOC) - The city of Dover is considering eliminating its historic district commission.

Its five members are responsible for making sure the district keeps its look and feel.
The district covers most of downtown Dover - including the Green, the legislative mall and Loockerman Street.

Michael Harrington has his hand in more than 40 properties in the historic district.
That includes a vacant, old car dealership on Loockerman.

"This dinosaur of a building that offers no architectural value to the city of Dover has to go before the historic commission," Harrington said.

Harrington calls that an added layer of bureaucracy.

Council members pushing this proposal say getting rid of the layer is the goal here.

Eliminating the historic district commission would not be an unprecedented move for Dover.

The city website lists five commissions that have been voided - three just within the past five years.

Even if there isn't a commission any more, its job in Dover would likely not go away completely.
City Planning Director Ann Marie Townshend says someone needs to keep an eye out for the city's past.

"The discussion needs to include how do we expedite the process without jeopardizing the history of the city," she said.

She thinks the planning commission would likely take over at least some of the responsibilities - a move Harrington would be fine with.

"I think what we need to look at the composition of the planning commission to make sure it has some of that expertise from the historic commission," said Townshend.

"It has a very important role to fill. But who is to say the planning commission can't fill that same role," Harrington said.

The city's legislative, finance and administration committee will take a look at the proposal next month.

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