Belding OKs bylaws, guidelines for historic district

By Cory Smith • Last Updated 4:49 pm on Wednesday, December 07, 2011

BELDING — Belding’s Historic District Commission is one step closer to becoming an official city committee.

Members of the Belding City Council approved bylaws, rules of procedure and guidelines under which the commission will operate.

The city council’s approval was necessary for the historic district commission to officially consider them under the city’s Historic District Ordinance, according to Belding City Manager Randall DeBruine.

The documents approved Tuesday evening include commission bylaws, rules of procedure, design standards and guidelines, an application for Historic District Commission and application for demolition or moving of historic building.

Councilmen approved all five by a 3-1 vote. Councilman Joe Feuerstein opposed them and council member Roger Wills was absent.

Feuerstein claimed the intentions of the documents the council approved were “intended to keep anyone from tearing down the Gibson Building.”

Feuerstein said the 27 pages of documents contained “51 hoops and loops” that anyone would have to go through in order to successfully gain approval to demolish a building.

“When I was elected, from day one, I was against (the Historic District Commission),” Feuerstein said. “If this does not pass (Electrolux) has the authorization to tear down everything, including the cement foundation, and clean it up.”

Belding Mayor Ron Gunderson reiterated that the documents drawn up by the Historic District Commission pertain to all seven historic properties and are not solely focused on the Gibson Building.

“This is for the entire district,” Gunderson said. “It’s not about tearing any one building down.”

DeBruine said the bylaws and guidelines were gathered from other cities in Michigan. The bylaws were obtained from Bay City and guidelines from Northville.

DeBruine said City Attorney Gary Rentrop recommended the council approve the documents to prevent any complications with the ongoing lawsuit between Electrolux and the city.

Electrolux is hoping to tear down the entire Gibson Building property, including the iconic clock tower. The city blocked that move with the new historic district, so Electrolux filed a lawsuit to force the city to grant a demolition permit.

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