To vinyl side, or not; council OKs variance

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, September 25, 2002

There goes the historic neighborhood. Or maybe not.

Three years ago the Selma City Council passed an ordinance against allowing vinyl siding to be placed on any houses in Selma’s Historic District.

During its regular meeting Monday, the council voted 6-3 in favor of allowing local resident Arthur Capers, who lives in Selma’s Historic District, a variance to the city ordinance, allowing him to put vinyl siding on his house.

During the meeting, before the variance was allowed, Councilwoman Jean Martin asked that the city ordinance be upheld and requested that Capers consult with the Selma Historic Development Commission before placing vinyl siding on his house.

Councilwoman Bennie Ruth Crenshaw, who was opposed to Martin’s request, then brought up a ruling made by the council in December of 1999, allowing Our House Restaurant on Dallas Avenue, which is located in the historic district, a variance to the city ordinance, allowing the owners to place vinyl siding on their restaurant.

Councilwoman Nancy Sewell, who also disagreed with Martin, echoed Crenshaw’s sentiments.

Elise Blackwell, secretary of the Selma Historic Development Commission, said that she disagreed with the ruling made Monday.

She added that the commission, which refused Caper’s request, had never disobeyed the city’s ordinance.

In a memo faxed to the Selma Historic Development Commission by the Alabama Historical Commission dated Aug. 27, 2002, the Alabama Historic Commission presented several reasons why they felt vinyl siding should not be used on houses in a historic district.

Some of the reasons included:

Capers, when asked about the council’s ruling, said that he was pleased with their decision.

He added that he asked the council, as well as the Selma Historic Development Commission, that siding only be placed on the flat walls of his house, &uot;and nowhere else.&uot;