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Commissioners endorse historic landmark guide

Henderson County planner Parker Sloan (left) and Historic Resources Commission member Don Wilson listen as Stephen Fosberg makes a point.

The Henderson County Historic Resources Commission finally got the stamp of approval that will allow it to go forward with plans to recognize historic landmarks.

With no discussion, the Board of Commissioners approved guidelines for historic landmark designation Monday night.
Formed by the county commissioners in 2008, the Historic Resources Commission has spent five years identifying historic properties in the county and narrowing the list to eight homes and buildings that it wants to nominate for historic landmark status. Board members had been trying to get the Board of Commissioners to endorse the proposed guidelines for more than a year.
The landmark designation could lead to a tour of the properties and increased tourism, the historic board says. Homeowners could receive state and federal tax breaks if the properties receive the historic landmark designation. No property will be nominated without full support of the owner, the board said.
The board reviewed 160 homes more than 100 years old, culled the list to 20 and narrowed that list to eight:
• Bryn Avon farm (David Mallett home), River Road, Etowah.
• Solomon Jones house, 161 Mt. Hebron Road, Laurel Park.
• White Pine house, 1109 White Pine, Laurel Park.
• The 1860s Blake house, known as the Meadows, in Fletcher.
• The 1888 House of Seven Gables, 1164 Macedonia Road.
• St. Paul's Episcopal Church, 1910, Edneyville.
• Poplar Lodge, Laurel Park.
• A vacant 1850 house at 32 School House Road, Mills River.

Historic Resources Commission members are still doing the extensive research required for a historic landmark nomination. The nomination would go first to the state Historic Preservation Office for approval.
Annie Laurie McDonald, a preservation specialist from the state office, gave the Historic Resources Commission an orientation on the process last month. McDonald will guide the local board through the process now that the county commissioners have endorsed the guidelines.
"We feel real good about having her participation because we need the guidance," said Sue Shepherd Sneeringer, the chair of the Historic Resources Commission.
He said he wanted to make sure the designation is voluntary but otherwise had no problem with endorsing the guidelines so the historic board could proceed with its work.
"I'm not going to make an issue out of it as long as it's stated it's for volunteer basis only," he said.
The eight-member Historic Resources Commission is made up of four at-large members — Terry Ruscin, Bette Carter, Susan Sneeringer and Donald Wilson — and community representatives Martha Justus Todd of Mills River, Stephen Fosberg of Laurel Park, Charles Kuykendall of Flat Rock and Ronald Schultz of Fletcher.