Another reason that it is important the National Register’s Inventory for the Newburyport Historic District(NHD) is online.
Let’s say the City Council passes the Stretch Code next Monday. Let’s also say that you are contemplating a home improvement project that will require a building code and you are inside the NHD. Doing due diligence, you check out the online inventory and you find the code ‘INT’ next to your home. This designation means that your structure is not a contributing building toward the National Register.
Not necessarily so! You can stop your crying!
There is a sliding scale on the Inventory Listing. It is now 2010 and according to the preface of the listing, the cutoff date for the report in 1984 was 1930. It says,
Finally, those structures built after 1930 have been designated as intrusions [INT]; included in this last category are a number of buildings which may be re-considered as contributing structures once they achieve the age of fifty years.
Therefore, any homes that have this designation and are between 1930 to 1960 as the date of construction, need to appear before the Historical Commission for reconsideration and change of status.
I assure you, if you go down to get your building permit like a good lamb, you’re going to be lead to the shearers! First, they* may attempt to say your home is not historical because it’s not on the Historic Survey. You may counter that, because of your research, by proudly showing your designation on the Register Inventory listing. For those unlucky few who have ‘INT’ posted, the building inspector** may be getting ready to slide down those heavy regulations off the shelf. Be ready to stop him by appealing to the Historical Commission if your structure is between those dates.
It would be tragic to find so many ‘sheep’ spending extra thousands of dollars and being ‘lead to the shearers’ because they were ignorant of the exemption.
* The designation ‘they’ could be the building inspector, the Planning Office, ignorant members of the Historical Commission, ignorant members of the Planning Board and ignorant members of the Zoning Board. Yes, they may be doing it maliciously but for my site’s sake, let’s all pretend they’re doing it out of ignorance!
**Gary Calderwood, in a meeting before the Newburyport Historical Commission realizes the initial shock that the Stretch Code will produce will be painful. He is proposing exploring exemptions and other mitigating methods to ease the pain not just for the average homeowner but for every building in the City. I hope he means it!