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Board shifts policy on building projects

The Hamburg Village Board approved a policy change Monday night that will put in its own hands the final decision on whether building projects in the business district meet the village's design codes.

That decision had previously been made by the building inspector.

Now the building inspector will refer the plans to the Planning Commission, which will make a recommendation to the Village Board. The board will then make the final call.

The rule applies to building construction, exterior renovation, facade renovation and several other aspects of construction.

"The way it was, the building inspector enforced design standards," said Trustee Laura Hackathorn. "And since the background of the building inspector isn't necessarily design or the character of our village, it didn't make sense.

"So we decided to take another look at the process."

Hackathorn said the move also coincides with the town taking over code enforcement for the village. The village had been using the town's head of code enforcement, Kurt Allen, but now any of the town's building inspectors could be dealing with village projects.

"We needed to make some adjustments, so we have final oversight," said Hackathorn. "[Allen's] no longer going to be our specific guy anymore. Now we don't know this big department. I'm sure they're very qualified, but we want to go through our Planning Commission."

During the work session, the chairman of the village's Historic Preservation Commission made a pitch for his group to be involved in the process as well, possibly by submitting reviews when plans are offered.

"I don't think anyone wants to create a new board, an architectural review board," said Douglas Hutter, the chairman.


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