Suwanee officials have received a favorable reaction to their formal application for a national Historic District in Old Town. However, officials in charge of screening want to meet with the city before resuming the process.
State officials said the proposed Historic District "meets the criteria for listing in the National Register," according to a December 2012 letter to Suwanee officials and others involved in the review process.
However, state officials noted that they have received a petition by "a number of property owners" within the proposed district who are opposed to the district. The number is about one-third of the historic residential buildings within the proposed district.
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According to the review process, if a majority of property owners in the proposed district oppose the plans, the district would not be formed.
"At this point in the nomination process, the National Register staff believes that more public information needs to be made available in order to address residents' concerns about the proposed National Register district," the letter reads.
Suwanee's Downtown Development Authority formally applied for the district last fall. The district would include most of Main Street, as well as Everett's Music Barn and the historic Suwanee First United Methodist Church.
Establishment of the Historic District is seen as essential to completion of the lease-purchase of the vacant Pierce's Corner building on Main Street. Norcross attorney Michael Deming Sr. is leading a group that wants to buy and redevelop the building. He says that tax credits from a Historic District are necessary to make the project work.
City officials held a session inside Pierce's Corner last March, which was attended by some Old Town property owners. Informational material explaining the proposed district was available at that meeting, and city officials stressed then that they are accessible by phone to address residents' concerns.
Main Street property owner Linda Fleming also received the letter from screening officials. She has led efforts to have a portion of Main Street be exempt from the district.
Amanda Schraner of the state's Historic Resources Section declined to comment on the situation. Suwanee City Manager Marty Allen also did not want to comment until the situation develops further.
State officials want to set up a meeting with city officials "to discuss the proposed district and the residents' concerns." No meeting date has been set yet.
There would be no cost to property owners in a Historic District. But income-producing property would be eligible for tax credits.
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