The Mayor and Commissioners of Elkton are shaking things up with the town’s historic district commission. Rumors about the reorganization started circulating on the Internet about the time the town was in court facing a taxpayer suit over zoning issues and fee waivers. Soon thereafter, Mike Dixon, the Chair of the board, and Deborah Storke, a commission member, received letters from Mayor Joseph Fisona informing them that they would not be reappointed by the Mayor and Commissioners for a second term.
Additional rumors have been swirling around indicating that two individuals with close ties to the Elkton Alliance have been selected as replacements. Typically these decisions are discussed by the town board, but the subject has not received a public airing as the officials consider and select suitable appointments.
Established in 2007, the historic district commission is responsible for protecting the historical architecture and fabric of areas within the zoning overlay district. Whenever a property owner wants to make exterior changes to a building in the designated area, largely the downtown part of the municipality, a permit has to be obtained from the commission. The board works to help assure that changes are consistent with the historical character of the area. Elkton struggled to build political consensus for the overlay zoning district and find qualified volunteers to staff it for over a decade, before finally activating the board in 2007.
Two original members, Paula Newton and Fred McDonald, were reappointed. Linda Griffith, The fifth representative has a few more years in her term. She was appointed in September 2009 during a vote that caused a rupture in the usual voting alignment that consists of Mayor Fisona, and Commissioners Jablonski and Piner. Commissioner Jablonski strongly urged the appointment of another candidate and a good deal of wrangling took place. When the vote finally took place Commissioner Piner surprised the audience by siding with Commissioners Givens and Storke