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Lexington County does not have local ordinance to protect historic properties

The Lexington County Museum wants to prevent dozens of historic properties from being demolished with possible preservation ordinance.

LEXINGTON, S.C. — In the last five years, Lexington County says it has lost several historic properties to demolition by developers. Now, the Lexington County Museum is asking for residents and county government to step in to help preserve other properties.

On Monday, the museum hosted a public meeting at the Lexington County Library to allow the community to ask questions about historic homes and cemeteries.

Delores Steinhauser came to the meeting to make sure nothing happens to other family properties after her great-grandfather's 100-year-old home was torn down. 

"There has to progress and we have to widen the roads and make room for the growing population but I feel like when it comes to tearing down historic homes they [the county] should let people know in case someone wants to step in and save it," Steinhauser explained.

To make sure houses are not bought up and torn down, J.R. Fennel, the director of the Lexington Museum, says these properties could be placed on a list of historic homes. However, that does not mean they are protected from demolition, due to a lack of local laws to protect historic properties.

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"If there are no local ordinances that protect historic structures, one way you can protect your house is you can put a covenant or an easement on your property," Fennel explained.

He believes that the county has already lost crucial parts of its history, and is hoping that the county will create a preservation council or ordinance to protect pieces of our past for future generations to see.

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"If you are interested in saving any of the historic structures in Lexington what you need to do is have a county-wide ordinance... so if you're going to demolish anything there is some sort of review board," Fennel said.

To request an ordinance, residents can write to members of the county council or make public comments at a council meeting. The next county council meeting is Tuesday, April 26.