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Newburyport Local Historic District Study Committee Public Hearing Thursday, June 21, 2012 7: 00 pm
Process To-Date • Created by City Council in 2007 • Conducted twice-monthly meetings public meetings • Gathered analyzed city data related to permitting, demolition, historic development patterns, etc. • Studied LHDs in multiple MA communities and met with their representatives • Conducted public opinion survey of National Register District and analyzed results • Drafted ordinance, requirements & recommendations; had multiple peer reviews • Wrote Preliminary Study Report • Held 4 special public info sessions / Q&A sessions • Incorporated public feedback into subsequent iterations of proposal ***Public Hearing***
Why an LHD? We are losing our historic assets one structure at a time and piece by piece. • Since 2002 alone: 35 lost to demolition, changed beyond recognition, deteriorating due to damaging surface applications, waiting out demo delay, off delay and can be razed at any time. Countless have lost defining historic features such as doors, decorative surrounds, columns, fenestration, etc. • Downtown business district has no protections since the NRA’s oversight ran out several years ago. • High Street is seeing its streetscape disappear as new homes block historic ones. • Increased pressure to develop leaves High Street homes vulnerable to demolition to access large acreage in rear of properties. • Large amounts of money have been and will continue to come to the city to permanently alter our historic assets.
Why an LHD? Continued… Communities, including Newburyport, with unprotected historic resources are under increased outside pressure to remove or completely alter historic structures. • Recent newspaper articles highlight this national trend in many MA cities and towns including: Beverly, Belmont, Newburyport, Tewksbury, Woburn, Swampscott, Northampton, Amherst, Manchester-By-the-Sea, Winchester, etc. (Recent articles: Boston Globe, May, 6, 2012, April 19, 2012 (2 articles), November, 2011, Daily News, June, 2012) • Newburyport’s million-dollar teardown follows national & regional trend. • Teardown of the Federalist on Little’s Lane in Newbury, though in a neighboring town, is representative of this problematic trend. • Popular community = vulnerabilities.
Why an LHD? Continued… Why existing measures are not sufficient What It Can Do Tool to control population density through: - Use of buildings & land ZONING - Height, size and location of these uses What It Can’t Do - Preserve or protect the distinctive characteristics of buildings and places significant to the Commonwealth, its cities and towns - Encourage compatible design Because zoning cannot preserve and protect historic assets, the state created the local historic district statute, Chapter 40 C, in 1960.
Why an LHD? Continued… Why existing measures are not sufficient What It Can Do DEMO DELAY - Tool that temporarily stops demo – in part or on the whole – of historic structures. In Nbpt. , up to 1 year. - Once the demo delay has expired, the structure can never come under the delay again. What It Can’t Do - Permanently protect historic structures. - Protect key historic architectural features – fenestration, door surrounds, fanlights, etc.
Why an LHD? Continued… Why existing measures are not sufficient What It Can Do What It Can’t Do - One-off, privatelyimplemented protection Private Preservation Easement - Protect historic streetscapes - Haphazard protection - Protect historic structures en masse
Nuts & Bolts of the Proposal Commission & Its Purview • Don’t keep creating new Commissions, combine what we already have. • Combine Historical Commission, Fruit Street LHD Commission and NBPT LHD Commission into one body with 7 members and 2 alternates with representatives from all areas. • Geographic location of application determines regulations applied (i. e. , Fruit Street application follows existing Fruit Street LHD criteria, historic structure on Turkey Hill follows existing Historical Commission criteria, application from High Street follows NBPT LHD criteria, etc. ) • Changes to Requirements must be approved by a 2/3 majority of the City Council. • Commission required to report yearly to the Council and mayor on their work and required to solicit feedback and input from all applicants on their experience. No other board or commission requires themselves to do this.
Nuts & Bolts of the Proposal, continued… (See handout or your hearing notice summary) Excluded from Review Shutters*, gutters*, foundations*, roofing materials* (including slate and composite materials), structures built after 1930*, bulkheads*, ordinary maintenance and repair (except brick masonry) as long as repair does not involve a fundamental change in exterior design or materials; new construction, demolition or alteration performed under a valid permit that was issued prior to the effective date of this ordinance or for the purposes of public safety; landscaping (vegetation), temporary structures (including, but not limited to temporary signs); terraces, walks, driveways, sidewalks, swimming pools and similar structures, storm windows, storm doors, screen windows, screen doors, window-mounted air conditioning units, paint, Flagpoles, sculptures, mailboxes, window boxes, downspouts and leaders, house numbers, garden furniture, Satellite antennae, satellite dishes, heat and air vents or similar equipment, all public park or cemetery structures except buildings, structures with a total footprint of less than 200 square feet, chimney caps, modern materials (post 1930) or features (post 1930) that existed prior to the effective date of the ordinance can be replaced in-kind. For example, existing vinyl siding can be replaced with vinyl siding, replacement windows can be replaced with new replacement windows, etc. , shutter hardware, exterior lighting
Nuts & Bolts of the Proposal, continued… (See handout or your hearing notice summary) Reviewed Demolition (full and partial) of pre-1930 buildings and pre-1930 historic features only, new construction and additions, masonry (except foundations) Siding and trim (except pre-existing vinyl/aluminum), Windows (storms & screens ok, simulated divided light inside and out are ok; replace modern replacements in-kind ok); entrances and doors (storm & screen ok); roofs and dormers (historically significant roof shape and pitch, historically significant dormers) Note that adding historically-appropriate dormers to the front façade of a gambrel would be an appropriate addition; porches and decks, widow’s walks, fences and site walls, commercial storefronts, historic barns and outbuildings, signage, changes to the High Street streetscape, public property (widening, etc. )
Example of the Process A number of years ago we replaced a large number of 6 over 6 single hung, un-insulated windows covered by aluminum storms with 6 over 6 double hung insulated glass windows, would this be approved if the LHD Commission were in place? The proposed LHD/HC Commission would recommend you get quotes for original window repair if windows are in good shape. If you wished to renovate with replacement windows, the windows would be approved if they had simulated divided lights (grid outside as well as inside). If the windows you were replacing were already replacement windows, you would receive a Certificate of Non-Applicability – existing “modern” replacements can be replaced in-kind.
Example of the Process, continued… At the same time we had the old dried out clapboards removed from the house and had the front redone with radially cut pine clapboards and the other three sides done with shakes, would this be approved if the (LDH) Historical Commission were in place? The front clapboards would be approved (Certificate of Non-Applicability – check-off on form). The shakes would be reviewed at same time, but would come under review only if they were visible from a public way that was within the district. The shakes visible from a public way would be approved.
Example of the Process, continued… At the same time the side door, visible from the street, was moved a few feet and a small stoop installed on the north-west side would this be approved if the (LDH) Historical Commission were in place? Yes. (It would be reviewed only if visible from a public way that is within the district. If it were visible from a public way and that public way were outside of the district, there would be no LHD review. )
Example of the Process, continued… The south-east side porch and the front steps are being replaced but the architecture of these will not be changed, would this be approved if the LHD Commission were in place? Yes (Certificate of Non-Applicability – check-off on form. )
Example of the Process, continued… Would each of these [previous] changes have required written application for approval if the (LDH) Historical Commission were in place? Yes – one application only. Approval process in two steps: some renovations immediately approved by Commission delegate; windows and shakes would be reviewed at the same time before the Commission.
Example of the Process, continued… Do all written applications for approval by the (LDH) Historical Commission require an architectural and/or professional engineer’s approval? No.
Fiction and Facts Fiction • Moving target vs. process • No city residents • Taking of property • Can change criteria at any time • We didn’t do our job – Nantucket has a 200 page book of guidelines • This will take the city back to looking like it did before Urban Renewal Fact • Required to take feedback and revise until Final Report submitted • Only city residents can serve • Supreme court Penn Station vs. City of New York • 2/3 vote of city council needed • Guidelines range from 10 pages, text-only to over 100 across Commonwealth • No LHD has moved backward in the Commonwealth.
Fiction and Facts, continued… Fiction • People will stop maintaining their houses • 2 women are going to make all the decisions • I can’t do anything inside or outside my house without going to the Commission • My property values will go down • My taxes will go up Fact • This has not been an issue in ANY LHD. Besides, no LHD has purview over routine maintenance or repair. • A Commission of 7 members will make decisions • Interiors cannot ever, according to state statute, come under LHD purview. As noted earlier, only specific items visible from a public way (and that public way is within the district) can be reviewed. • Increase or stabilization of values (CT 2011, NYC Indep. Budget Office, U. of Houston, South Carolina, LA Conservancy, etc. • Taxes cannot be raised just by being in an LHD
Protection of Streetscapes and Settings
Innovative Architecture Compatible with Historic Settings
Protection of Period Details
Ways to Increase Usable Space
Contact Study Committee http: //www. cityofnewburyport. com/Planning/lhd. html [email protected] com
Next Steps 1. Review Public Comments & Questions 2. Update Proposal Draft as-needed 3. Review Draft Ordinance & Guidelines with Legal Counsel 4. Submit Final Recommended District Map, Ordinance and Guidelines to City Council & Massachusetts Historical Commission 5. Copies will be posted on the City Website (URL) 6. City Council Subcommittee Meeting(s) 7. City Council Vote(s) 2
Adjournment Thank you!