Andrew Johnson Homestead (copy)

A recently completed survey of the Greeneville’s Local Historic District includes information about structures including commercial stores, churches, private residences and public sites such as the Andrew Johnson Homestead, shown in this photo.

A recently completed survey provides a wealth of information about the buildings and properties within Greeneville’s Local Historic District.

The question facing the Greeneville Historic Zoning Commission is how to best use that data. That topic was the focus of extended discussion Tuesday by its members, who were of a consensus that it should be used as a foundational document for revising design guidelines, helping educate about the value of historic preservation and making decisions about repairs or alterations to building exteriors.

The first step they decided to take was to submit minor corrections for some data recorded in the survey, such as name misspellings and typographical errors, for the final draft of the historic resources survey.

A draft of the survey was sent to commission members earlier this month for review. Jaime Destefano of JLD Preservation Consulting prepared the survey, which includes information about the construction dates, historic and current uses and architectural and building styles of each structure within the Local Historic District.

The survey also includes recommendations regarding whether a structure should be considered contributing to the Local Historic District. In the survey, Destefano found that nearly 86% of buildings within the district are contributing. The consultant also makes recommendations about revisions to the design guidelines and possible areas to add to the district.

A survey of this type has not been previously completed for the entire district. The town received a 60-40 matching grant to complete the survey last year.

Once corrections are made and a final draft submitted, the commission agreed that its next step needs to be action to adopt the survey as an official document and seek approval of the Greeneville Board of Mayor and Aldermen to authorize its use.

Revisions and updates to the residential guidelines were being made at the time the grant was obtained, and the commission decided to halt that effort until after the survey was finished to be able to use its information as a resource.

Commission member Dr. Don Sexton recommended that a timeline be set for completing the revisions to the guidelines as well as other issues that may need to be addressed using the survey, such as efforts to provide education about the value of preservation.

Educational information is a part of the guidelines that needs to be addressed to help people better understand how a building can contribute to the historic fabric of Greeneville and what it can bring to the community economically and culturally, said commission member Noah Young.

As commission members discussed the need to update guidelines about windows, siding and roof materials to reflect what is available, Young said the educational part of the guideline can help people understand the value in maintaining a structure.

“For preservation, we need to reach people years earlier before properties reach a point that replacement is the only option,” he said.

In other business, the commission approved a request for a 4 foot by 4 foot sign for a new business, Creekside Vinyl, at 201 W. Summer St. The new sign will project out from the wall on the street side of the business, which provides wholesale crafting supplies.

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