Arlen Nicolls has been named the College Hill representative on the city’s Historic Preservation Commission. She is a Realtor and has lived in College Hill since 2008. Arlen has long been active in the College Hill Neighborhood Association, having served as a board member and treasurer.
The Historic Preservation Commission is a quasi-judicial board that reviews applications for Certificates of Appropriateness for exterior work in Greensboro’s three local historic districts. All exterior work on historic-district properties must meet the city’s Historic District Program Manual and Design Guidelines. New construction also requires a COA and is subject to the guidelines.
The HPC also makes recommendations to the City Council on historic-preservation matters, including additions or changes to the National Register of Historic Places, and to the Board of Adjustment on requests for variances and special exceptions in the historic districts.
Meetings are open to the public. The commission holds a public hearing on each request for a Certificate of Appropriateness. It receives a recommendation from the city’s historic preservation staff and then hears from those supporting the request or opposing it. Because of the quasi-judicial nature of the hearing, all speakers must swear or affirm to tell the truth, and only testimony delivered in person is allowed.
After hearing the testimony, commission members discuss the application in terms of its congruity with historic-district guidelines and make a find-of-fact, explicitly citing the relevant facts of the application and the guidelines involved. They then vote to approve, approve with conditions or deny the request. They also can continue the application to the next meeting, although all requests have to be decided upon within 120 days of their filing date. The commission’s rulings can be appealed to Superior Court.
The commission meets on the last Wednesday of each month at 4 p.m., usually in the Plaza Level Conference Room in the Melvin Municipal Office Building, 300 W. Washington Street. When that room isn’t available, the commission meets in the City Council chamber.
The nine commission members are appointed by the City Council for three-year terms. Arlen was appointed at the council’s March 7 meeting. The council is required to appoint at least one resident from each of Greensboro’s three locally designated historic districts.
Arlen succeeds David Arneke, who has served the maximum two consecutive terms on the commission. Previous College Hill representatives include Patrick Lee Lucas, Jennifer Burns, Donna Kelly, Patrick Downs, and Julie Davenport.