NewburyportNews.com, Newburyport, MA

Opinion

October 31, 2012

Why councilors should vote No on LHD

To the editor:

My family lives on High Street. Our house was built in 1770. My wife and I have signed the “No” petition on the proposed LHD and urge the City Council to vote it down.

Preventing historic homes from needlessly being torn down is a worthy goal. As written, however, the LHD proposal is not about history. We remain unconvinced that Newburyport needs an unelected body dictating what constitutes “historic fabric” based on a set of subjective standards.

The you-don’t-know-what’s-good-for-you tone of the few pro-LHD communications we have received has struck us as patronizing and condescending. More important, we have yet to see these claims fully supported by the facts.

Those in favor of the LHD attribute resistance to “misconceptions” about its mission and objectives. They point out instances of improper restorations, inappropriate renovations, and incompatible additions. Those words – improper, inappropriate, and incompatible – are cause for alarm. Inappropriate according to whom? If the majority of residents affected don’t understand or agree with what the LHD wants to accomplish now, how can its proponents expect support or compliance with it later?

What are the positive reasons for supporting the LHD? If the goal is to establish a set of requirements that create viable options to tearing down an historic home, be specific and objective about those. Then put a clearer proposal to a vote.

In the meantime, the Council should vote NO because the LHD would:

Concentrate too much power in the hands of too few

Impose new restrictions upon homeowners

Make it more expensive to own, maintain, and sell a home within its boundaries

Enforce greater uniformity and conformity

The Newburyport we treasure welcomes and celebrates eccentrics. If anything, Newburyport needs more diversity, not less. Comparisons to other tourist destinations imply that the only way to preserve Newburyport is by accelerating its already rapid gentrification. We disagree, and don’t want to see families priced out of this market so the drive down High Street more closely resembles a Merchant-Ivory production. Why has there been so much emphasis on facades when it’s what’s behind them that make this city truly vibrant?

Text Only | Photo Reprints

NDN Video
Heartwarming 'Batkid Begins' Documentary is Tear-Jerker Orlando Bloom 'Takes a Swing' at Justin Bieber In Ibiza Pitch Invading Morons Cause Chaos - @TheBuzzeronFOX Sadie Doesn't Want Her Brother to Grow Up "Maxim" Hotness! See Jessica Alba's Sizzling Spread Two women barely avoid being hit by train Broken Water Main Floods UCLA Orlando Bloom and Justin Bieber Reportedly Came To Blows In Ibiza Meet the Man Behind Dumb Starbucks Chris Pratt Adorably Surprises Kids at a 'Guardians of the Galaxy' Screening NOW TRENDING: Peyton Manning dancing at practice "The Bachelorette" Makes Her Decision Thieves pick the wrong gas station to rob Golden Sisters on '50 Shades' trailer: 'Look At That Chest!' Staten Island Man's Emotional Dunk Over NYPD Car - @TheBuzzeronFOX GMA: Dog passes out from excitment to see owner Baseball Hall of Famers Inducted 'Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1' Sneak Peek Florida Keys Webcam Captures Turtles Hatching Morgan Freeman Sucks Down Helium on 'Tonight Show'
Special Features
NRA Waterfront Plans