Local Historic District Expansion: The Entire City Benefits

It is an established fact by the Internal Revenue Service and the Massachusetts Department of Revenue.      The State has known for years the ethical impacts and has enjoyed the revenue from the ripple affect.


Newburyport is known for its historic-period buildings but in fact, there are great stretches of property which look like nothing that people picture for an old seaport: rural farms and forests, and regular suburban neighborhoods.

Even today, the fact of our historic downtown has guaranteed stable and, in some case, expanding values in homes as far as the West End and along Turkey Hill Farm.

I read with bemusement in The Town Common, Janet Hilton’s article (Sep 21-27, p. 19), “Bring Reality Back to Realty”    – The gist of the piece is basically lecturing homeowners who want more value out of their homes to get ‘real’ and face the fact they may have to sell their homes at reduced prices or jump hoops to get even close to want they want.

But in Newburyport, you may have a home that could comfortably sit in Peabody or Melrose but because you have the name, ‘Newburyport’ attached to it, buyers picture quaint church spires and Federalist-aged buildings and a dreamy seaport.     And yes, by and large, they ante up!

Now take that benefit and pump it up with steroids.

Everyone even those far from downtown are going to get an added benefit in equity and value.

Which begs an ethical question!

If the City Councilors are going to vote on the expanded LHD; won’t they have to excuse themselves since their properties will get a boost too!?!      If a councilor rents in town, instead of owns – will he get a pass?     How far away does a councilor have to live before he is deemed not receiving a financial benefit?

Sounds like a headache for the City Clerk and for the Solicitor to figure out!

-P. Preservationist


About P. Preservationist

Dedicated to the Enrichment & Preservation of Newburyport
This entry was posted in Health and wellness, Local Historic Districts (LHD), News and politics. Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Local Historic District Expansion: The Entire City Benefits

  1. Bob Cronin says:

    No ethical dilemma at all. No single Councillor is receiving anything that any other neighbor would receive. If a Councillor were the sole benefactor in an endeavor then State ethics laws would be triggered. Following your thesis, I couldn’t vote on schools if I had a child or grandchild in school, I couldn’t vote on downtown improvements as I use the downtown and a nicer downtown might in fact raise my property value.
    A better question is should this be a ballot question?

    Bob Cronin
    Newburyport City Council for Ward 3

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