Yankee Thrift: Don’t Re-invent the Wheel, Recycle It!

Perseverance in politics is a necessary ingredient – I look at Councilor Hutchinson as a fine example – he ran for city council the first time and lost, ran again, lost and finally ran and won.

The same goes for causes too.       Of course, the opposition would love to declare victory and to discourage supporters to engage in any further efforts; but in such cases; only a gullible fool would fall for that.

‘Tis a lesson you should heed,
If at first you don’t succeed,
Try, try again;Then your courage should appear,
For if you will persevere,
You will conquer, never fear
Try, try again;Once or twice, though you should fail,
If you would at last prevail,
Try, try again;If we strive, ’tis no disgrace
Though we do not win the race;
What should you do in the case?
Try, try again
If you find your task is hard,
Time will bring you your reward,
Try, try againAll that other folks can do,
Why, with patience, should not you?
Only keep this rule in view:
Try, try again

-Charles T. H. Palmer

The Community Preservation Act is a good example.   A surcharge on real estate taxes is then available as a fund that can go for affordable housing, historic preservation, open space and recreational projects.   The state then matches that amount at varying percentages.  A city or town can vote it in and several have defeated the CPA only for the champions of that program promoting it for reconsideration and then seeing it passed in an election.

The same goes for the local historic district ordinance.       But with a frustrating twist.       Instead of a clear vote, the mayor initiates a study committee which then works up the ordinance and guidelines and historic district area; presents it to the city council who then passes it or not.       Newburyport’s present city councilors voted it down.      Now to restart the process, the mayor needs to create a study committee which then presents the ordinance and guidelines and historic district area to the city council who then votes it up or down.


Yankee thrift demands we take the finished work from the last effort and simply re-tweak it concentrating on more of which territory will be included.      Instead of five years, we get the resubmission in less than a year.     And that includes forums and  public hearings included!

I’m not waiting around – I have added the guidelines from the Local Historic District Study Committee’s final report (with mandates removed) to the index page of the Newburyport Historic District website.       These guidelines are not based on the active imagination of a few people but are soundly based on national standards:

“These guidelines are based on The Secretary of the Interior Standards for the Treatment of Historic Properties with Guidelines for Preserving, Rehabilitating, Restoring & Reconstructing Historic Buildings (Standards) by Kay D. Weeks and Anne E. Grimmer, published by the U.S. Department of the Interior in 1995 and updated in 2001, and The Secretary of the Interior Standards for the Treatment of Historic Properties With Guidelines for the Treatment of Cultural Landscapes, edited by Charles A. Birnbaum with Christine Capella Peters, published by the U.S. Department of the Interior in 1996, www.nps.gov.”

Do you want to know what is expected of you if you live in the Newburyport Historic District?

Do you want to know how you can contribute to the general welfare of the entire community?

Do you want to know the general principles on how to take care of an antique house if you find out (checking the website) that you live in one?

This link called, “Exterior Building & Landscape Guidelines” is your gateway to knowing what is expected if you live in an historical home.

Such topics as posted:

Table of Contents

Contributing Buildings

Entrances & Doors


Demolition Issues

Roofs and Dormers

Signage & Awnings


Skylights, Satellite Dishes, Solar Collectors & HVAC



Porches & Decks

New Construction


Fences, Site Walls & Trees



Barns & Outbuildings



And when the mayor after this November’s election, appoints another study committee, everyone can* know the common guidelines.

The main political concern will be then focused on who will be included in the new local historic district and on the ordinance itself.

-P. Preservationist

* Assuming the typical horse when brought to the water will actually drink.

This entry was posted in Architecture, Education, Environment, Health and wellness, Heritage Tourism, Landscapes, Local Historic Districts (LHD), Planning, Preservation, Quality of Life, Real Estate, Renovation, Restoration, Streetscape, Streetscapes. Bookmark the permalink.

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