All the alarm, the fury and the hysteria has brought out the signs and this has caused a lot of misunderstanding over the size of the local historic district.
So, instead of talking to promote the LHD and showing all the tremendous benefits it will provide for the City, I will examine in a couple of posts the actual substance: the size, the guidelines and the ordinance.
I will start off with the map of the local historic district. Now, I heartily agree with Chris Skelly from Mass Historic; the entire National Register District should have been included in this local historic district – but the Study Committee in conjunction with the Planning Office felt otherwise. And if we should expand it (Yes, yes, yes!), we’ll have to start the whole process again of creating a local historic district study committee. (Ugh)
But we’ve had a lot of confusion. We’ve had ant-LHD signs strewn all over the City leaving the impression it will cover vast areas. We’ve had these same signs running up to Plum Island. (A nice way to kill tourism) We had a Plum Island resident loudly condemning the LHD which has got some out in the public saying, “It covers the island too?” And of course it doesn’t – why would you preserve the architectural style common out there, ‘Early Disarray’.
Many others feel this LHD battleground is strictly dealing with High Street. The embarrassing anti-historic preservation signs on our main thorough fare has left the vast area between Market Street and Federal Street largely strewn with Historic Yes signs.
This is not about High Street. It’s about preserving our historic city and continuing the protection that has given us a high quality of life.
But the fact is, the Master Plan of 2001 advocated multiple local historic districts and this is how Salem, MA has approached it. Thus, we are only looking at this presently:
It covers High Street from three corners to the Newbury border.
It covers the center of town from Market Street to Federal Street.
It covers the Central Waterfront, the WWOD* area of New England Development and the Eastern side of the Waterfront up to the Coast Guard Station.
What will happen if the LHD is imposed, the ripple effect will spread – those inside will benefit but the National Register area not included will also see their equity increase. Of course, being unprotected except for the demo delay, the rest will begin to be victimized because of their great value. That’s why we have to keep pursuing protection of our precious historic assets.
This battle will be long but historic preservation will guarantee a bright future for Newburyport.
PS. As of last count, we have online 370 for and 37 against. 370 taxpayers (directly or indirectly) and city council is wavering? Apparently this tiny groups tax contribution is of more value than the vast majority!!!!!!
* Waterfront West Overlay District
If you need a banner or a sign, contact the Citizens for Historic Preservation, www.historicnewburyport.com. They have a list of city councilors and how to contact them..
If you have a question contact firstname.lastname@example.org. If I can’t answer your inquiry, I’ll make sure you are connected with someone who can answer your question.