The fact is that the local historic district ordinance is coming into being just in time.
The NRA is not a permanent organization, nor was it ever intended to be a permanent organization. But while it was in existence, very strict visual controls were in place externally in our downtown. If you wanted to make any changes to a sign or to the frontage of a store, you had to appear before the NRA.
Then that design review power went away leaving only a control over signage.
And now in just a month or two, that will be going away too to be replaced by a proposed review document called, “Signage Standards for Downtown Newburyport.” Knowing the pressure from the commercial district, I doubt in the absence of the local historic district, that will ever come to be.
In other words, it is only a matter of time before Newburyport Development eagerly awaits the dispensing of the Fowle’s sign. With no real controls by a commission, the sign will come down to make ready for their new tenant. The wonderful cohesion that Newburyporters have enjoyed and expected downtown will also go away.
In other words, the slow desiccation of our downtown starts in January of 2012…UNLESS THE LOCAL HISTORIC DISTRICT ORDINANCE IS PASSED.
This is another reason why 2012 will be a crisis year for the City. The commercial owners are already putting pressure on the candidates and on the present sitting city councilors not to pass the local historic district ordinance.
Cannibal City indeed. I used to go spelunking in my college years and accidentally stumbled into a cave full of rabid bats. I knew I was in trouble when bats descended on us instead of flying away. I held one up and in its madness, it chewed one of its legs off!
I picture the blind and the mad and the short-sighted destroying our future only to hurt themselves in the end.
LET’S MAKE SURE THIS ORDINANCE PASSES!