The first Design Guideline Public Meeting was held on Tuesday evening, July 27, 2010 at the Blanco Public library at 6 p.m. There were sixteen citizens present for the first meeting with architect Sue Ann Pemberton-Haugh of Mainstreet Architects of San Antonio. The purpose of the meeting was to introduce to Blanco citizens and business owners the steps involved in developing design guidelines for the city.
Ms. Pemberton presented a slide show that illustrated the work she has done in developing design guidelines for other Texas towns. She emphasized that her task would be to identify the architectural aspects of our town’s buildings that give Blanco its own unique character. She will then develop suggestions, or guidelines to help retain the flavor of our town as it continues to grow and develop.
There was a question and answer period after the presentation which helped to clarify what guidelines will and won’t do. Unless adopted by the council as design standards, the guidelines will simply provide a series of points that the Historical Preservation Commission and the Planning and Zoning Department can use to help them determine the appropriateness of changes that are proposed to the historic buildings in our town. Design guidelines will also provide recommendations for new construction to encourage growth that is compatible to existing buildings in terms of scale, proportion, height, etc. The intent is not to have new construction look like historic buildings, but to avoid new construction that ‘overpowers’ or ignores the unique character of our hill country town.
There will be several more public meetings as the design guidelines are developed throughout the remainder of this year and into the spring. The next meeting is tentatively scheduled for September.
The design guidelines are funded through a matching grant from the Texas Historical Commission (THC) through the Certified Local Government (CLG) program. Blanco became a CLG town in 2007 and as such is eligible to apply for matching grants every year to help fund local preservation efforts. The selection of Ms. Pemberton to develop the guidelines was approved by the city council last winter.