Today’s editorial is so silly that it is not worth responding with a full blown rebuttal* either here or in the paper.
But what really worries me is this scary impression that opponents are putting out there:
“Newburyport is beautiful because of individuals taking pride in their homes.”
This was practically the same wording by Dick Sullivan, Jr.
Apparently, putting vinyl siding on your house (Sullivan) and putting a plastic fence in front of the other (Lanphear) is taking pride in their homes.
But worries me the most is this impression that people are naturally preserving their historic homes to maximize their property values and to enhance the beauty of the City.
We’re beautiful because the City residents were too poor to tear down their homes. Ipswich is a very affluent community with a huge collection of 17th to 18th century homes – people are attracted to the town because of the beautiful buildings left standing because of poverty. I came from New Jersey a long time ago from a community that is all modern and yet it is more than a hundred years older than Newburyport.
People can and are wishing to tear down and gut and strip to the studs these historic homes in Ipswich and in Newburyport. They are willing to replace precious historic windows with plastic short-lived replacements. They are putting vinyl (plastic) on their homes and tearing out the historic brick sidewalks and replacing with blacktop. They are demanding demolition so they can build new. Because of our great beauty, we have developers moving into the city who have no idea how to do historic renovations but want to sweep away the homes so they can build McMansions.
According to Mass Historic and the National Architectural Trust, there are over 750+ homes that have been lost and more are added weekly.
You may get tired of me highlighting atrocities going on in the City but apparently we have a host of clueless citizens who think everything is hunky-dory.
* M.G.L. 40C requires the vote be taken by the city council, not put on a general ballot. As for her other point, it took for the new charter, the cost of general election for nine commission members, $5,000 for the Charter Commission, $10,000 for a consultant and well over $4,000 for a general mailing of the new charter. Money by which if the vote had been negative would have meant all that effort would have meant money flushed down the toilet. We’re actually getting a bargain with the small amount of money being put on something as major as a Local Historic District Study Committee!