Frankfort moves to protect historic properties

Mar 12, 2013

The Frankfort City Council is considering a plan to protect the historic integrity of the downtown area. Members will look at extending the boundaries of the Downtown Historic Overlay District.

Mayor Chris McBarnes says since the foreclosure crisis a few years ago, they’re seeing housing stock deteriorate. He says the proposal before the council would create a historic district ordinance.

“It will hold those accountable, who are living within these dwellings, to keep them at a certain standard, because we believe that is very important,” he says. “And not only the private homeowner, the landlord renting these homes out. We’re raising the bar.”

McBarnes says last year the council approved $100,000 to demolish homes that are unsafe. Officials say too many of the historic homes, many of them Victorian, are falling into disrepair. McBarnes has a particular problem with rental properties owned by people out-of-state.

“They don’t care about how their property looks here in the City of Frankfort and that doesn’t sit well with me,” he says. “But I don’t want to pigeon-hole all land owners, because we have great property owners here in Frankfort who rent to their tenants and upkeep their homes in a responsible manner.”

McBarnes also says officials want new businesses setting up shop near historic districts to have buildings that reflect the character of the neighborhoods.