“If we don’t pass some measure, this will look a lot different 10 to 20 years from now,” said Cameron. “To me (the ordinance) seems very reasonable.”
Cameron asked the eight councilors in attendance at the meeting to consider the 221 communities throughout Massachusetts that had successfully implemented the proposed LHD legislation being considered for Newburyport. And to the residents who have stated they believe their property begins at their fence and everything they do between that fence and along their property line is within their right, he objected.
“I think that’s a really misguided view of property rights,” said Cameron. “We are affected by what our neighbors do.”
Cameron also spoke to concerns voiced by residents that they would be subjected to overzealous appointees making up the Local Historic District Committee proposed to govern the LHD by suggested that safeguards are in place to remove members for such actions.
“If someone isn’t doing something right, they can be removed,” said Cameron. “If we wanted to make the (three-year) terms shorter I’d be amenable to that.”
Councilors Allison Heartquist and Greg Earls voiced support for the ordinance, which they felt was mild. And Barry Connell offered that he would vote yes as well if it came to a vote.
“I don’t believe the imposition of some restrictions from an LHD is the death knell for property rights,” said Connell.
Being the only two members of the Planning and Development Committee present at the meeting, with Brian Derrivan detained by a business conflict, O’Connor Ives and Connell voted to send the issue to the full council without a yes or no recommendation for consideration at its Nov. 26 meeting.
“This is a matter of broad public interest,” said Connell of the decision.