By Joe Lewis - Staff Writer
March 20, 2013 — The Olive Hill Board of Architectural Review met last Thursday to discuss adopting uniform structural guidelines for downtown businesses, including a set color palette.
At the meeting's outset, Chair Lois Carroll outlined the board's purpose.
“We're only interested in preserving the external structure of these historical buildings. We don't have any say about what's done on the inside and we aren't trying to keep businesses away,” Carroll said.
Buildings and other structures that fall within the historic H1 overlay district in downtown Olive Hill are required to submit an application outlining desired external structural modifications to the Architectural Review Board for approval before moving forward with changes.
That application is digitally available on the City of Olive Hill's official website.
While no official action was taken, the board did circulate a document with a potential selection of historical colors that would be the set palette for any building looking to make color changes to their existing structure.
For businesses that are part of a franchise, however, it would be possible to obtain an exception to any adopted guidelines by petitioning the board.
For example, the newly-opened Cash Express store recently put up a bright yellow awning that would not fall within the proposed color palette.
The store, however, obtained board approval before installing the awning.
The board has been the subject of scrutiny by some business owners in the community, and rumors have circulating that stores such as Dollar General have been denied building permits because their plans don't call for “historical” materials such as brick or brick facade.
“That's just not true,” said Debbie Baker Harman, the board's secretary, who also went on to add that Dollar General has never submitted any application to the board for new construction, contrary to rumors.
Other board members also patently denied the accusations, stressing that it would not be in the best interests of the city to have a hostile climate toward business.
“People get upset and feel they should be able to do whatever they want with their buildings. But if a pig farm moved in next door, you know they would be upset. That's why there have to be guidelines,” Harman said.
Dollar General recently began construction of its fourth store in Rowan County.
Joe Lewis can be reached at email@example.com or by telephone at 286-4201.