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Downtown Lincoln property owners stamp approval on new historic district

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[December 12, 2013]  The Lincoln Historic Preservation Commission met in a special public session Monday evening. April Doolin chaired the meeting that opened at 6:30 p.m. in the council chambers of Lincoln City Hall.

Plans for the evening included opening the floor to the public for questions about the proposed downtown historic district. The city has a national historic district for the downtown area. The new district follows the same borders, but would be established locally for recognition by the city of Lincoln.

The meeting was also intended to conclude with a vote to establish the district.

Two members of the public were in attendance to ask questions. Lance Rainforth and Michael Jeisy own property on North Kickapoo Street and Chicago Street, respectively. They were concerned about how much control the historic district would have over renovation of their property.

Doolin and commission member Ron Keller explained that the historic district is only concerned with those parts of a historic building that face the street and can be seen from the street. The district does not address interior renovations or roofs as long as the roof is not visible from the street. The historic district is mainly concerned with maintaining the look of historic downtown Lincoln.

Doolin also reiterated that tax incentives as well as grants may be available to property owners who improve their buildings.

Rainforth commended the commission for their mandate of improving the quality of downtown Lincoln without changing the look.

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After answering questions from the public, the next item on the agenda was the final vote on establishing the district. Four members of the seven-member commission were in attendance, which constituted a quorum. However, two members in attendance, Doolin and Bill Vinyard, own property in the proposed historic district. So, they had to recuse themselves from voting.

Another meeting will be scheduled in the first two weeks of January in order to have enough members of the commission in attendance to vote without Doolin and Vinyard.


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