To the editor:
Please let me correct some inaccuracies published in The News. I recently introduced two proposed zoning ordinances for Newburyport that relate to historic preservation. Neither involves a local historic district (LHD). In 2012, I was a vocal supporter of forming an LHD, but I am not proposing an LHD now, not even a small one. I am persuaded that it is time to move on from LHD.
There is consensus around protecting our historic downtown from irreversible changes, and for being able to stop tear-downs of historic houses. Former City Councillor Katy O’Connor Ives had introduced LHD-based compromise legislation along those lines. Her ideas appeal to many.
My unoriginal suggestion is to work through zoning. Many preservationists, including folks who supported my candidacy, are upset to see that I am not proposing an LHD. The council can debate that, and it can be revisited. In the meantime, the council must still act. Newburyport wisely committed to historic preservation as a ticket to prosperity in 1971. There have been booms and busts, but the tipping point on land values has been reached. The City Council has a duty to account for that reality before Newburyport literally becomes unrecognizable.
That is my “quest,” not LHD.
Newburyport City Council, Ward 2