One of the reasons that has been made against the need for protections of our historic assets is the call for zoning. Mark Audette, in an editorial on March 15th, 2012 called, Change zoning don’t create historic district, he states, “I suggest that we not focus on an LHD but instead focus on zoning.“ David M. Tierney in an April 9th, 2012 editorial declares, No to LHD update zoning bylaws. Lyndi Lanphear has repeatedly called for zoning and not an LHD claiming in an August 20th editorial that against demolitions, “Zoning can be tightened up to make sure this never happens” Other proponents, Dick & Kathy Hordon, have demanded that zoning rather than a local historic district ordinance take care of protection.
At two separate public hearings, the anti-LHD crowd repeatedly demanded that zoning should be the means by which some protections aught to be applied.
So now the City Council have done just that by providing three zoning ordinances up for review.
Each of these ordinances are for the intention of protecting our valuable historic downtown and sustaining the integrity of the Newburyport Historic District.
And yet, these hypocrites are planning to fight these zoning ordinances.
Granted, they are not perfect and are beginning proposals open for modification. That’s why we are having a public hearing – to make sure the very thing that guaranteed Newburyport’s rise to affluence will be in the end, protected.
Government’s primary role is protection.
And right now, we have developers, house flippers, ignorant homeowners, and profiteers intent on using the high property values generated by our historicity; to demolish, gut, renovate and replace the very thing that has given us our enviable affluence. And thanks to the actions of previous short-sighted administrations; there have been no protections on our downtown since 2005.
We now have a recipe for disaster. And the anti-historic preservationists are leading the charge to allow for the continued destruction of our city on the phony notion that the “waterfront” is somehow the source of our prosperity when it wasn’t even anything to look at in 1974 but a dusty parking lot. They have also insisted on looking the other way as the historic areas of our city are threatened by the demolition and gutting of historic structures and their replacement by new buildings.
So what is their motivation? The Hordons who have chosen to lead this hostile group have had a well-documented trail of trying to seize someone else’s property. That someone else was Historic New England. Using ‘squatter’s rights’, they tried to take possession of property that was not their own! They didn’t get their way and now they wish to vent their anger at any group that would attempt to protect historic architecture! The Lanphears, in an effort to put a house in front of their historic home, attempted to infringe on the property of others in a zoning dispute! They didn’t get their way and now they are bitter. This clearly shows the disrespect toward historic property – what would you think knowing the Lanphears took an historic plaque intended for the public to learn of their historic architecture and turned it away from the street!
The fundamental driving force of many leaders of the anti-historic preservation movement is a deep anger of not getting their way.
It explains the repeated, well-documented attempts to distort the facts and to proclaim outrageous falsities, and it shows their willingness to do anything to put a black spot on historic preservation. They have a deeply held belief that if there had been no historic architecture to worry about; they could have had free reign.
It’s time for the majority of Newburyporters to put a stop to this destructive driving force that is intent on paving the way for profiteering banks, developers, and realtors to have an open road to ‘haul away’ Newburyport’s key to future affluence.
Don’t let some bitter hypocrites seal our doom! Be sure to show up Wednesday at the public hearing at City Hall to provide constructive input so our downtown and residential neighborhoods are protected.