Mayor Gene Hobgood, the council and other city officials heard the potential guidelines the district would create for downtown businesses from Paige Hatley, a consultant from AMEC Environment and Infrastructure.
AMEC was hired by the city of Canton, Hatley said, to address the fast-growing community’s concerns about protecting its rich history downtown.
Hatley’s company has devised a set of guidelines for design that downtown businesses would follow.
“The design guidelines are intended to help guide design in the downtown area and support the city’s ongoing downtown revitalization and economic development,” Hatley said.
But, she said, their aim isn’t to hinder business with the proposed regulations, which would be overseen by a historic downtown commission, and keeping them in the past.
“We don’t want to impede progress for downtown,” Hatley said. “We want to be respectful of the history and this wouldn’t force businesses to give the appearance of history where there was none originally.”
The new guidelines would apply to any changes businesses already in downtown Canton could make to the exterior of their properties as well as new construction, and demolition. It is yet to be decided whether or not residences in downtown will be affected.
Among the restrictions laid out by AMEC’s plan, business owners within the bounds of the historic district would have to consult the historic design board for any changes to exterior doors, windows, roofs and porches, to name a few. These conditions are for “continuity in downtown,” Hatley said.
Councilman Hooky Huffman said the new regulations could affect the “vision” of Canton.
The council will now begin to discuss the proposed map of the would-be Historic Downtown Canton, Hatley said.