An open house on the proposed downtown switch into a local historic district drew a crowd of 20 despite snowy, cold weather.

Comments at the Wednesday, Nov. 6, meeting in the Stoughton Fire Department’s EMS Training Room included concerns that the designation would cost business owner more money and hopes of extending the district to more businesses.

Organized by a consulting firm hired by the city’s Landmarks Commission, The Lakota Group, the meeting was part of a process aimed at transferring the authority for approving exterior changes downtown from the Planning Commission to the Landmarks Commission.

The Landmarks Commission is an appointed body that serves to recognize and preserve the historic and cultural resources within the City of Stoughton.

After hearing feedback during the public open house and from the online survey, the Commission plans to make a recommendation to the Common Council, which will have the final decision on whether to change the downtown design overlay district into a local historic district.

The new district would include 67 downtown properties from Fifth Street to the Yahara River.

At Wednesday’s meeting, 16 presentation boards outlined what a local historic district is, the difference between a locally designated landmark and historic district, the process for approval on exterior changes and information on the current downtown design overlay district.

Attendees wrote down comments and concerns about the district. Some anonymous comments included: “concerned about awning choice, placement and maintenance…” and “would like to see district extended thru East Main St…”

For those who were not able to attend the open house, a public survey is available on the City of Stoughton’s website. The website will include all the information that was presented at the open house and a survey to provide feedback.

At the next Landmarks Commission meeting, on Thursday, Nov. 14, the commission is expected to discuss the proposal and the feedback.

After the survey closes, the Lakota Group will send a report outlining the results of the survey to the Landmarks Commission.

Contact Mackenzie at mackenzie.krumme@wcinet.com.