To the editor:
We have all seen the signs and read about the historic district proposal (LHD). There is no one living in this area who does not understand and respect the value that significant historic structures bring to Newburyport. It is the means to achieve the desired preservation that can be controversial. There are three ways this can be done: One, leave it alone because it is working fine so far (no LHD). Two, have the government impose a district that restricts the freedom of property owners by means of penalties or fines (LHD). But there is a third way. Instead of the standard penalty-focused force to conformance, how about thinking outside of the box and devise a method that would incentivize the preservation of historic properties? In this way, purchasing and maintaining a historic home would not become a substantial liability far beyond basic home ownership, but transform the specter of penalties for nonconformance into a reward for preserving a historic treasure for the benefit of the entire community. Think positive instead of oppressive and the results will be impressive!