, Newburyport, MA

April 25, 2012

Letter didn't refer to us

To the editor:

In response to the April 10 letter by Leslie Varrelman, we are writing as the female members of the Local Historic District Study Committee (not commission, as stated in the letter), the Newburyport Historical Commission and the Fruit Street LHD Commission.

Our first correction is that in her letter to the editor, Ms. Varrelman referred to the LHD Study Committee as the LHD Study Commission. To clarify, there is only a LHD Study Committee, whose role is to study the need for a local historic district and make a proposal in the form of an ordinance and guidelines. Only once an LHD is adopted would an LHD Commission — appointed by the mayor and approved by the City Council, with oversight of the ordinance and guidelines — come into existence.

The more problematic portion of Ms. Varrelman's letter is when she asserts that two women, purportedly from the LHD Study Committee, attended a recent open house and openly criticized the renovation work performed on it.

Please allow us to be very clear: neither Margaret Welch or Sarah White from the LHD Study Committee attended the open house in question nor any similar event, nor did we make any such remarks at any time.

There are two other city commissions dealing with historical matters — the Fruit Street LHD Commission and the Newburyport Historical Commission. Each has two female members. Neither of the two female members on either of these city bodies were at said open house or any similar event nor did we make any such remarks at any time.

We do not know with whom Ms. Varrelman interacted, but the undersigned want to set the record straight that it was not with any female member of any of these city entities nor anyone authorized to act on their behalf.

Sarah White

Chair, LHD Study Committee

Margaret Welch

Secretary, LHD Study Committee & Newburyport Historical Commission

Linda Smiley

Chair, Newburyport Historical Commission

Leah McGavern

Fruit St. LHD Commission

Bonnie Sontag

Fruit St. LHD Commission