, Newburyport, MA

Local News

December 11, 2012

Narrow LHD gets green light Narrow LHD OK'd

New district to encompass just 8 homes on High Street

NEWBURYPORT — An 11th-hour amendment led the City Council last night to approve the first reading of a local historic district of just eight properties on High Street.

But the matter of a larger LHD encompassing a broader section of the community, which has been on the table for years, is stalled, at best, for now.

The new abbreviated district will be called the High Street Historic District, and city officials say the owners of the eight homes it encompasses had requested that they be included in such a protected sector.

It will include residences on the “ridge” on High Street, running from numbers 79 to 93 or from about State Street to Wills Lane, city officials said. The proposed district contained more than 800 properties at one point.

However, several issues such as a demolition delay and preservation protection for the greater downtown still remain on the table.

“We will be involved in more discussions when we come back after the new year,” City Council President Tom O’Brien said. “That includes the downtown and demolition.

“The residential sector got smaller (in our discussions) because those who wanted a larger district knew they didn’t have the votes.”

The vote in favor of the High Street Historic District was 9-1. Councilor Dick Sullivan Jr. voted against it, and Councilor Brian Derrivan was out of town on a business trip.

Councilor Greg Earls, whose district represents that sector of High Street, had introduced the amendment enabling the district.

“These homeowners know what they are doing,” Earls said. “They want a district and it’s appropriate that we enable it to happen.”

After the meeting, Mayor Donna Holaday said, “Both sides walked away with something, and I’m pleased that the work of the volunteer (LHD study) committee resulted in something.”

She said that councilors felt strongly about this issue — both for and against — and that they were able to agree on the compromise.

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