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Letter to the editor

Hat's off to residents for restoration

October 13, 2010 - Dear Editor:

I applaud Jim and Debbie Cousens for challenging the Clarkston Historic Commission as related to the restoration of their home on N. Main St. ("Homeowners fight Historic Commission in restoration project," Oct. 6).

This place had "been a dump" for past several years and since I live just around the corner, I could see the improvements almost daily.

And then to learn that they had been denied by the commission on their requests for improvements; I found that disgusting. I've personally had similar experiences in Pontiac where I own property that I discovered, after purchasing, was in a historic district. Rare is a sales agent who will openly discuss this with a prospective purchaser, before the closing. Even then, it may be buried deep in the closing documents and not realized until one attemps to pull a permit.

In my opinion, the district should not have the authority to deny a home owner from proceeding with an improvement as long as it meets applicable building codes.

Their role should be limited to providing historical advice and possible alternate materials and means to reasonably maintain the historic appearance of structure.

Having such powers can be a detriment to the improvement of older homes in historic districts and reduce their sales potential. Who in their right mind would want to go thru what the Cousens did just to improve their property? And not everyone has an extra 10 grand to spend on legal fees just so they can use 21st century building materials and methods, especially when it could be better spend in upgrading the structure.

My "hat's off" to the Cousens for their determination and especially for the improvements they made to their property. It looks beautiful.

Dave Fritzinger


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