February Update: Landmark Status
In this update:
I have joined 10 other councilors in docketing a temporary suspension of the landmark ordinance while necessary revisions are made to it.
My reasons are:
There is no question that some of our structures deserve to be recognized and preserved to the extent possible. But landmarking, like designating an historic district, comes with added expense and responsibility for stewardship. Newton and the state do not provide extra compensation that would compensate owners for the added expense and review involved in preserving the exteriors of landmarked structures.
More than 80% of our homes are more than 50 years old—which means that most of us live in possibly historic structures! We heard in January from owners who could not sell their parents’ home because of the threat of its being landmarked—the risk was too high for the prospective buyers.
We also heard that commercial tenants will walk away from a prospective lease when a structure in a village center is nominated for landmarking—again the risk of immediate increased costs is too high.
A task force of councilors is hammering out a compromise landmarking ordinance. I hope we will have something to discuss in the coming months.
Party for the Park!
We had a great time Feb. 9—and raised over $2,000 to fix the trails at Cold Spring Park. The Conservators are still accepting donations toward the trails (for the Friends of Cold Spring), if you want to advance this ambitious plan to fix trails that haven’t had professional maintenance for 37 years. Donate on line here: https://newtonconservators.123signup.com/donation/21167