At the council meeting on Aug. 14, there was an extensive discussion on demolitions.
At the meeting, the council gave guidance to the Planning, Zoning & Building Department to explore options to provide incentives and not restrictions to allow changes to buildings townwide in an attempt to help property owners retain buildings as opposed to taking them down.
I am looking forward to seeing how this initiative is going to progress.
At the recent Landmarks Preservation Commission meeting, however, the commission voted to place all the properties fronting on the Sea streets under consideration as an historic district.
I strongly feel that by so doing, the commission has stepped in front of the ongoing zoning initiative.
Creating an historic district places restrictions on all the properties in the district, and obviously selecting out just three streets doesn’t seem equitable either.
I also question the wisdom of creating an historic district as this was tried in the past on Pendleton Avenue and was turned down.
The advice of the former historic consultant, Jane Day, was to approach landmarking on an individual basis (site by site) and not on a district basis.
I also feel that the Landmarks Commission should have started with a discussion with the property owners on the Sea streets before they decided to place our properties under consideration as an historic district.
My suggestion is for the Landmarks Preservation Commission to rescind its vote to place the properties under consideration as an historic district.
The community should work with the zoning initiative to change our code to provide incentives and flexibility in an attempt to save and restore buildings townwide.
Where that is not possible, we should work to make sure that what is built back is in character with the architecture and fabric of the street and neighborhood.