Blythewood Academy Gets Historic Designations

BLYTHEWOOD (May 12, 2016) – The Blythewood Planning Commission voted May 2 to designate as historic properties the interiors of the Blythewood Academy gym and auditorium and to change the classification of both the gym and auditorium from Class II to Class I.

Because those two items were recommended by the Commission, it was necessary to also recommend an amendment to the Town’s zoning map to show those changes on both the zoning map and in the Legend on the map.

The Blythewood Historical Society recommended the changes, which were in turn recommended by the Board of Architectural Review (BAR) last month. Under 155.538(8) of the Town Code of Ordinances, the Planning Commission provides formal comment on any historic property designation before it goes to the Town Council for a vote.

“What is the benefit of this?” newly appointed Commissioner Michelle Kiedrowski asked about the change from Class II to Class I. “The owner could not make changes (to the property) without a process of approvals. So what’s the benefit of changing the classification?”

Town Planner Michael Criss explained that the change in class would require more rigorous review to get approval for changes from the BAR.

“How is that beneficial?” Kiedrowski asked again.

“From the perspective of those who value the historic nature of the structure as it is,” Town Administrator Gary Parker explained, “(the owner) can’t change something as easily as if it were Class II.”

“The representative of the owners, Richland School District 2, are on board with the Historical Society to make the change (for the gym and auditorium) to Class I,” Criss said.

The vote was unanimous to recommend the changes and zoning map amendment. The issue is expected to go before Town Council later this month.