Milton Town Council unanimously passed a resolution Oct. 7 asking the Historic Preservation Commission to explore establishing a color palette for homes in the historic district, but members of the committee appeared reluctant to take on the task.
The town has a nationally recognized historic district - homes in the district are in the National Register Historic District, part of the National Register of Historic Places - that encompasses the town’s oldest homes in an area that includes homes on Union and Federal streets.
Mayor Ted Kanakos proposed the measure because, he said, unlike other towns, there were very few rules for Milton’s historic district. He said he did not want to see homeowners in the historic district using paint colors that did not fit in with the look of the neighborhood.
“We have certain builders or certain folks who, I don’t know if they’re colorblind, but the colors they’re picking are atrocious. They have nothing to do with the historic background of our town, it’s just where they can get cheap paint,” Kanakos said
Kanakos’ measure raised the antenna of Commissioner P.D. Camenisch, who asked why council was deciding to do this now. Camenisch asked if council starts regulating the paint people use, what else would they try to regulate?
“If you send it to the historic committee, you’re going to come back with a negative answer. Our standard says there is no color palette. There is no other city in Delaware that requires a certain paint color,” he said.
Camenisch said he is aware of some towns that limit the color of vinyl siding, but that is mainly because historic districts try to encourage wood siding instead of vinyl. He also asked how the town would enforce paint colors.
Instead of a blanket rule on a color palette, Kanakos said the end result of the committee’s work should be suggestions of colors to be used in the historic district. Camenisch said the committee would be more amenable to developing a list of suggestions.
“We should try to tighten up some of the rules and regulations in the historic district. I’m trying to promote the historic district as a very unique area and promote the historic houses. We have 196 houses in our district,” Kanakos said after the meeting. “It’s a very easy way to preserve the visual aspect of the historic district.”