There are definite rules for placing new buildings into an historic district – that is if you are serious about including historic preservation into city planning! One of the main points of the Newburyport Historic Preservation Plan of 1991 is the importance of including such considerations into any design. What happens if you don’t? The tragic destruction of absolutely beautiful (but dilapidated at the time) streetscapes that we could be cherishing today. Over 65 buildings were torn down in our historic downtown! That was until HUD was finally convinced by pressure of the citizens to consider historic preservation in its design plans.
I have looked thoroughly at the versions of the Senior Center and it is a no brainer, Plan A is the only one that makes sense.
All else disregard the full potential for park and parking use. It also gives proper consideration for abutters by putting the building up close to Kent Street. This way all the homes on Washington Street don’t face a wide asphalt parking place. A new building in an historic district needs to match the streetscape. Other buildings are close up to the street. So too should the Senior Center. A good example is the building across from the Firehouse Center. This new building matched the streetscape and was not put in the center of the parking lot! In addition, the parking in the back will improve the aesthetics of the building and also give added protection from the elements when it is used for off-street parking. The ever-popular basketball court can be used all the time not just when the Senior Center is not being used.
I have placed the design plans A-H under "Current Events" folder below but its also available on the Planning Office Website.
I would think that serious preservation concerns should be added to the discussion on June 30th when the next public meeting is to be held.