The issue: Homeowners can apply for local landmark designations

Lincoln County Zoning and Inspections Director Andrew Bryant presented two cases before the board of commissioners Monday, June 18 that involved Lincolnton homeowners requesting their residences be designated as local historical landmarks. One was the W.A. Mauny House, 916 E. Park Drive, Lincolnton, which is a 1950s ranch-style house – the first of this style in the area. It was built by a reputable architect who built a number of the historical homes in the county, Bryant said. The second was a Queen Anne Victorian Revival home, 310 N. Flint. St., Lincolnton, built in 1910. It’s been owned by prominent figures such as past sheriffs, Bryant said.

What happened: County staff recommended board approval

These cases require the board’s approval before the designation is granted by the local historical association. Commissioner Martin Oakes questioned whether the county “can have an unaccounted number of homes put in this category,” but Chairman Bill Beam assured him only two had been approved in recent years. Commissioner Carrol Mitchem also had questions about the criteria. “Does this mean any 1950s house can do this?” he asked. Bryant said these two homes already passed the local historical association’s application process, which follows the National Register of Historic Places criteria. The homeowners had to submit a number of photos, state why the home is historically significant to Lincoln County, provide architectural details and more. Ultimately both were approved, though Oakes voted against the Flint Street property.

What it means: These 2 homes will be added to the local registry

Once homes are designated as local historical landmarks, homeowners are placed under certain restrictions and standards – the idea is to keep the home as close to its original construction as possible. Bryant said if the owners do anything with exterior and features of house, local commission has “purview over that” and “can issue certificates of appropriateness” to allow changes. No matter how small the change, everything they do has to come before commission in terms of exterior upgrades, Bryant said. However, the county can’t regulate what upgrades or changes are made to the interior – the ranch-style house is close to the original interior design.

What’s next: Homeowners can apply for tax breaks

As Commissioner Anita McCall explained at the June 18 board meeting, homes dubbed a local landmark are eligible to apply for certain tax breaks. She questioned whether that was the reason why these homeowners were applying for the designation. Though the owners did not speak at the meeting, Bryant said, “I would imagine (a tax break) was part of the motivation.”

The W.A. Mauny House is eligible for a 50-percent property tax deferral, which equates to about a tax bill decrease of $800 annually. The other property can see a $625 annual property tax decrease.


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