What a CLG can do for you

RBC | CLG stands for “Certified Local Government.” What is a Certified Local Government, and do we want to have one? The Rio Blanco County Historical Society (RBCHS) has asked the county commissioners to consider a resolution to become a CLG.

What will that mean?

For the commissioners it means approving a resolution and appointing a volunteer nine-person board to oversee the process of landmarking historical properties, one step above listing those properties on the national or state historical register.  The process begins with obtaining a survey of all structures in the county for eligibility as a historic property.

“Ninety percent or more of the work is done by the volunteer board, not by county employees,” said attorney Sandra Besseghini, who drafted the resolution reviewed by commissioners Monday.

State grants are available to cover costs of training for the board, promotional expenses, professional support, as well as surveying properties and local preservation programs for which there are no other funding sources.

“We have looked at what other communities have done and tailored our resolution to meet the needs of our community, it’s totally voluntary,” she said.

For property owners it would mean additional opportunities for grant funding, tax credits and technical support to preserve historic properties, both commercial and residential.

Once established, the CLG board would have the authority—with a property owner’s consent—to recommend to the commissioners to landmark a property over 50 years old which meets certain historical criteria set by the National Park Service and the Colorado Historical Society. After a hearing, the commissioners may approve the landmarking. Landmarked properties are then eligible for various grants and tax credits for maintaining and preserving the property.

The goal of the CLG board would be to inform and educate property owners about the potential benefits of landmarking if their properties are eligible.

QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS

Can a third party designate a property for landmarking without the owner’s consent?

That language has been modified in the proposed RBC resolution. “Anyone can ask that a property be landmarked, but our resolution never permitted the process to go further without the owner’s consent, and now no one but the owner can ask again to consider landmarking until the property has new ownership,” Besseghini said.

Will the CLG delay approval for construction permits on historic properties?

According to Meeker Town Administrator Scott Meszaros, any delays would only be for the purpose of making sure a building’s history was recorded through photos, archiving, etc., before a structure is demolished or radically altered.

Does the CLG devalue properties?

Besseghini said in other communities with CLGs, property values of and around landmarked properties actually increase, not decrease, because there’s a “guarantee” the landmarked property will be maintained. If the property is sold, the landmark carries over to the new owner, they don’t have to apply again.

– Does the CLG limit what property owners can do?

“In fact, nothing can be done against an owner’s wishes,” Besseghini said. Unless there is an application for landmarking, nothing else would happen. “We’d like to have an opportunity to talk to a property owner, which we intend to do through public forums and mailings if they have an eligible property. If a property owner isn’t interested, so be it, that’s the end of it.”

Why involve the county at all?

Since the Town of Meeker already has a designated historic district, and the Town of Rangely is working on creating one, each town could establish its own CLG, as New Castle, Glenwood Springs and Carbondale have done in Garfield County. But that leaves property owners in unincorporated areas out of the potential benefits available through the CLG. For cost, time and procedural efficiency, the state recommends that the county become a CLG and that the towns participate through agreements. In neighboring Garfield County several towns (New Castle, Glenwood Springs and Carbondale) have gone ahead with creating their own CLGs without the county.

There are 161 CLGs in the State of Colorado, some set up under a municipality, others under a county. For more information, download “Understanding Certified Local Governments in Colorado” at http://bit.ly/2MtaeWu

The revised CLG resolution drafted by Besseghini follows in its entirety.

RIO BLANCO COUNTY HISTORIC PRESERVATION RESOLUTIONWHEREAS