Proposed fees for nominating new potential landmarks in Rochester were put on hold Wednesday with plans for a review by the city’s Heritage Preservation Commission.
“They are the experts in this area, not us,” Rochester City Council member Kelly Rae Kirkpatrick said in suggesting the added review.
She added that the commission members will offer engaged community voices on the issue.
The proposed fees — $100 for property owners and $300 for non-owners — would also require a $1,500 refundable deposit, which would be used to cover costs of added study, if needed.
Community Development Director Cindy Steinhauser said the deposit wouldn’t be spent without the knowledge of the application, but she reviews of potentially historic properties can be complicated.
“Every property that comes forward has its own level of uniqueness,” she said, pointing out the goal is to cover costs of study.
“This fee really gets to our goal for trying to be a self-sustaining department,” she said.
Council President Brooke Carlson said that’s important to make sure the cost of researching applications isn’t shifted to taxpayers.
“The expense doesn’t just go away,” she said, adding that she supports establishing a related fee.
Council member Nick Campion agreed, pointing to more than 100 identified potential landmarks that are set to be reviewed by city staff for reports to the Heritage Preservation Commission at city expense.
Additionally, he said the fees help guard against residents using the applications to provoke others.
“They are one of the only applications you can make on a property you don’t own,” he said.
At the same time, council member Mark Bransford said the proposed fees and required deposit appear to be punitive, with the goal of deterring applications.
“I believe there are other ways to recoup the costs,” he said.
Kirkpatrick said the Heritage Preservation Commission review could point to other options. She suggested the group could make a recommendation at its meeting at 5 p.m. Tuesday, with the council able to revisit the issue on March 1.
The council voted 6-1 for the delay, with Campion opposed.