Historical Preservation Board
Section 1917.13 of the Codified Ordinances is City Council’s authorization to establish a Bedford Historical Preservation Board (HP Board). Members include 5 residents or property owners, two of which are from the Historic Downtown Business District. Members are appointed for a three-year term. Traditionally, the Bedford Historical Society is represented on the Board with at least two positions, and serves as a source of historical background information on proposed changes. The purposes of the HP Board are to protect the value and appearance of property on which buildings are constructed or altered, to maintain a high character of community development, to protect the public health, safety, convenience and welfare and to protect real estate within the City from impairment or destruction of historic or intrinsic value. Such purposes shall be accomplished within a Historically-Zoned District by the HP Board by regulating according to recognized architectural principals and other applicable ordinances. Traditionally, the standards for the preservation of historically designated property as set forth by the Secretary of the Interior and as found in Sections 1943 and 1944 of the Codified Ordinances are used as a guide to accomplish that end.
The HP Board shall have the authority and it shall be the duty of the HP Board to review all applications filed in the Building Department to construct, alter or renovate storefronts and the exterior of buildings in historically zoned areas of the City. Toward that end, the HP Board shall receive and promptly review and pass upon all drawings, data, reports and complaints filed with it by the Building Commissioner. Traditionally, when alterations are planned by a property owner, a meeting is arranged by the Building Commissioner between members of the HP Board and the owner of the property and/or his contractor at which the proposed alteration will take place. At that meeting the owner presents the plan for the alteration and answers questions from the Board on materials and methods. In most cases, conversation and debate at that meeting results in a project that is acceptable to both the owner and the HP Board. In other cases the owner is asked to come back to the Board a second time to present alternatives to the original plan that will be acceptable to the Board.
Once the project has been aesthetically approved by the HP Board, the owner presents final construction documents to the Building Department for approval and the necessary permits for construction. It is not unusual for members of the HP Board to check with the owner several times during construction to insure that the project is being installed as approved by the Board. In this way the traditional character of the Historic District is protected and preserved for all to enjoy for generations to come.