In trying to backtrack and legitimize themselves after all the mudslinging, the anti-historic preservationists are now using well-written and well-documented editorials to make their case. Of course, working in such unfamiliar territory has revealed themselves for what they are.
Many have asked, “Why don’t you use the proper moniker for the opposition?” That’s because from the very beginning, this has been about fighting and trying to shut down any historic preservation practices in the City. They want homeowners and craftsmen and developers to have an absolute free hand without any consideration of the historic architecture.
In today’s editorial, Ms. Hordon claims there is increased costs for having an antique home. To restore the historical house when damages occur to the full replacement value is going to cost you more. THAT IS EXACTLY RIGHT WITH OR WITHOUT AN LHD!
As I have been saying, there is a cost for living in an historic district regardless if there is an LHD or a non-protected National Register District. For the entire city to enjoy the precious and rare homes we have and for us to enjoy the high property values that have spread all the way to our outer borders; we need to sustain historic streetscapes.
As she has revealed in the following quote from Richard Sutch, author of “Insuring Your Historic Building,” in his article, “Insurance for Historic Buildings — a Risky Business”:
“Insurance becomes more expensive if the antique building is part of a group of historic buildings in a historic district, which would be greatly devalued if a single element were not rebuilt.”
THAT STATEMENT RIGHT THERE IS WHY THE LHD IS SO IMPORTANT.
If there is not historic continuity in an historic district, property values begin to plummet. You could spend tons of money keeping your historical home beautifully restored but if it’s located in a haphazard community like Plymouth, MA; it could all be in vain.
“Full reinstatement coverage is required. He continues by saying most homeowner insurance companies won’t insure houses over 100 years old. Because of the expense of rebuilding a historic home, especially one in a historic district, and therefore strictly governed by the laws of historical accuracy, most homeowner insurance companies choose to pass those contracts off to insurers who specialize in “that kind of thing.”
The key element is full reinstatement. Recently the city put into place an ordinance that if a building is burned down or significantly damaged that it needed to be replaced, the like kind could be put back into its place. We also have insurance agents here in town who deal with historic buildings. They ‘work’ with homeowners and know how to make the premiums and coverage manageable. You can’t have your rare First Period house burn down and then have an insurance company tell you you must settle for a ranch-style home! If the City of Newburyport does not maintain the historic district in its context, property values and equity will plummet as more and more historic buildings have modern materials and inappropriate building construction.
I have been criticized by some by putting in a post labeled, “So Move”, but the fact is, there is a cost for living in an historic district. It is so much easier to live in a modern home so why not leave the old sections of the city and live in the other twelve non-historic neighborhoods? People who love old buildings should live in them – not try to destroy the precious and unique elements. If you can’t stand it in the kitchen, then get out! Don’t tell the citizens of Newburyport that it’s okay to do anything you want and everything will be fine.
The fact is this editorial and the one next to it today, want to somehow “protect the fabric of Newburyport” by giving everyone a license to destroy the very thing that has given us our affluent city and high, stable property values.
You can’t have it both ways.