Frankfort is fortunate to have historic districts, charm, and character worth maintaining. Other neighborhoods have homeowners associations to keep uniformity and identity within an area, and I see no reason why some of our most unique and important neighborhoods should be different.
The Architectural Review Board is an important tool for maintaining the character of our historic districts and for facilitating the public exchange of information that is so valuable to neighbors and property owners. We need some oversight to protect the property values of those who choose to live in one of the special districts. As mayor, I will work with city staff and the ARB in any way I can to continually improve the process.
Recently, I believe Planning staff has made great strides in streamlining the process so that very few of the permits applied for are sent to the ARB for review. The ARB members have also worked hard to be consistent with their decisions and balance progress with preservation.
There are some areas of improvements though.
Consistent enforcement of the regulations on the books. Though each project and each owner that comes through the Planning Dept is unique, we need to work at the staff and board level to consistently enforce the regulations the city has adopted, and not get into areas where ARB oversight is questionable.
We need consistency with the penalties for maneuvering around our regulations too. In the past, there seems to have been a ‘do it on the weekend’ mentality to avoid the perceived red tape of applying for a permit and receiving approval. Outreach needs to be persistent, and our processes need to be user-friendly. We need to understand that the Planning Department and the volunteer board are partners in this, not the enemy.