People have been horrified at the sight of a ranch home sitting on top of one of our historic buildings. It’s architectural style sticks out like a sore thumb and definitely mars the view from the top of State Street, east of Temple Street and from the clear view from the Institution for Savings Bank.
So the comment has been made, if only we had a local historic district ordinance, then we would have prevented this from happening.
In sort of a sense they are right but not in the way they’re thinking.
The Bracket Heel Building has in a large part been empty for almost 40 years. While the rest of the city was having a renaissance including the expansion of the Library next door, this building was left out. As the historic preservation restrictions downtown began their ripple affect, the prosperity was slowly working its way up State but, again, this building due to its odd location had been left out of the party.
So, let’s say they came before the local historic district commission. What would have probably happened?
Because of the difficulty in getting development into this building, they’re request for an additional building probably would have been approved and a Certificate of Hardship would have been granted. But the ‘appearance’ of this extra building on top would have been probably more in style to the rest of the city and have a brick facing.
Then their addition would have hardly been noticed by the community, the cohesion of our Downtown would have been sustained. The owners would be secure in making their business plan work and the value of their immediate area would be secured.
Remember, it’s not the code or construction requirements but the massing, and the exterior design element that is important – and this would make everyone in the community pleased with the outcome.
That is why the implementation of the local historic district ordinance is so important.