There are many wolves out there who are demolishing, gutting and severely renovating historic homes. They get very angry that some would prevent them while they are in the process of making a ‘profit’. They wish the liberty of doing destruction so they can exploit our City’s unique position in the real estate market. Ironically, a unique position generated by historic preservation!
But you know what? I expect that out of wolves. That’s why we need the regulatory power of a local historic district.
But sadly, there are many here in Newburyport that are very much against the local historic district ordinance. They’re argument is that it infringes upon what they want to do with their own property. These property righters have a very strict definition that once a person owns land, then the government has no right to tell them what to do, the next door neighbor has no right to tell them what to do and the neighborhood has no right to interfere. In fact, the U.S. Constitution and the Constitution of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts has no effect once you cross into their ‘country’.
We have homeowners who want to do what ever they want to do. Damn it if it goes against building codes, damn it if it goes against zoning and damn it if it goes against the historic district and damn it if it’s out of place in Newburyport.
I am recalling the humorous episode that happened recently down in Georgetown when one landowner had this view. He had ‘habits’ which some of his abutting neighbors complained about. His response was to put up bright lights that shown directly into their yards. When they further complained, he put up a hideous rusted corrugated fence facing his neighbors.
So, here in Newburyport, we’re trying to preserve our high property values, our high quality of life – all generated by the fact we’re an historic seaport town and are benefiting from historic architecture and lovely neighborhoods that just can’t be found anywhere else. By putting a design review on the outside visible part of the houses, and preventing demolitions; we’re able to keep ourselves in a good position that benefits everybody.
This keeps the wolves at bay and ends up benefiting every Newburyporter.