How much authority does your community's Historic Preservation/Landmark Commission exercise over their jurisdictions, and do their jurisdictions include some form of designated historically contibuting properties only, or entire jurisdictions (if both, are there any difference in level)?
Background: I am our city staff HPC liaison, and am also the project manager for our developing UDC. Our commission currently exercises wide authority over an entire district, which is basically the entire original incorporated area (small town/Austin exurb, approx. 1,000 residents in the historic district, 17,000 population in whole town), including new construction and any exterior alteration to existing structures whether they're designated as contributing by our historic resources survey or not. City staff would like to limit their purview to just the designated contributing structures, but we are facing quite a bit of pushback from the commission. Our (staff's) rationale is that noncontributing structures (such as the 100 or so ranch houses and derelict shacks in the district) should not have to wait up to a month to be included on the HPC meeting agendas (as is customary), just to be held to historical design standards that the structures don't have any similarity to. HPC has argued that they want to retain their power, and want to potentially create new contributing structures. They already oversee new construction. The present issue is only in relation to things such as (any) exterior alterations and renovations up to our 50%/$50,000 mark where they'd have to meet them all anyways.