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Local group expresses concern for fate of historic districts

KALAMAZOO, Mich. (NEWSCHANNEL 3) - A Kalamazoo group says a bill being considered in Lansing would threaten historic districts across the state.

They say it gets in the way of a community's ability to remove blight and makes historic districts too difficult to create or maintain.

Wednesday, the Stuart Area Restoration Association held a meeting to discuss the bill.

Critics of the legislation say it would set expirations on the districts every ten years, and could only be renewed with a two-thirds vote.

"The properties the historic districts have made valuable by preserving the buildings are the places where the developers want to go because that's where people want to be," said Kalamazoo Historic Preservation Coordinator Sharon Ferraro.

Supporters of the bill say it's an issue of property owners' rights, adding that it's expensive and burdensome to get the district's approval and to use original building materials to complete a project.

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