Architecture styles to be focus of meeting

By Jeff Smith

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There has been a feeling that some of the architecture in Hill City isn’t that unique and doesn’t fit with the rest of the atmosphere the city has.

A draft ordinance has been created for a proposed change to the architectural standards for new buildings and exterior renovations that require a building permit.

The planning and zoning commission has approved a style of architecture sheet and wants the public to comment on them at the next Planning and Zoning (P&Z) meeting.

There are eight different styles that are included in the new ordinance.

These are: Beaux Arts, Italianate, Queen Anne, Log Cabin/Rustic, Old Western False Front, Stick/Eastlake,  Tudor Revival  and Victorian.

The current code states that all construction within commercial C Zones, Commercial/Residential (CR), and Central Business District (CB) shall have wood, brick or stone storefronts and have a western or turn of the 20th century architectural style. 

Dani Schade, development services coordinator in Hill City, said that a few buildings were approved to be built before she was in Hill City that might have been better designed if there had been a different code in place.

“The P&Z commission recognized that they didn’t have much authority to make sure they (the buildings) were cohesive to other building styles in the city,” Schade said.

Through a visioning meeting in the creation of the comprehensive plan there was an agreement that people wanted to preserve the look and feel of old buildings downtown. Along those lines, there was also input about preserving Hill City’s history and uniqueness.

Dale Householder, chairman of the planning and zoning commission, said the main thing that the updated code will do is strengthen Hill City’s identity.

The commission is trying to get back to the way buildings were in Hill City 50-60 years ago.

The goal is to make Hill City different from other cities in the Black Hills. In the future, Householder would like people to see the change.

Through the change the city hopes that the commercial district will become a ‘destination’ that people want to visit. Also, Schade said that individual property values are enhanced through good design, and collectively, properties can greatly increase the value of an entire district. 

“Good design and well executed design guidelines have proven to be beneficial to both the property owner and the city because they stimulate social and economic growth,” Schade said. 

One of the reasons there will be many options is so that developers have many options to choose from when buildings are under construction.

Schade that there was a narrowing down of styles through meeting with the commission members.

Originally, she had about 15 different styles that were in use in South Dakota during the turn of the century. Schade said some of the styles aren’t seen in Hill City and others were for buildings that have four or five stories that aren’t in Hill City.

The commissioners are now comfortable with the draft enough to move it forward to a public hearing. A hearing will happen at the March 19 Planning and Zoning meeting.

Schade said they will have to see if there will be changes made to the ordinance. Another public meeting could happen if there are significant changes to make to the current draft.

Design guidelines are to be available at city hall to assist city owners if the change is approved by the city council.

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