It is no secret that the Building Inspector, Gary Calderwood, is no friend of Historic Preservation. And, in his long tenure, he has witnessed historic houses decimated one after another.
If any one objects, he blithely declares that all building permits are posted in the paper. Of course, citing this week alone, the listing posted is June’s, long after someone has done the ‘damage’.
That’s because he knows the following abut this district:
That the stretch code with all its expensive restrictions is ‘not in force’ on historic homes. But he has declared that if a homeowner is too ignorant to bring up that exception, they will have to follow the strict building codes – which translates into damage to an historic home and much more expense for the owner – so much for ‘ignorance is bliss’.
BUT WHAT HE REALLY KNOWS IS,
Design review is not in force anywhere in our ordinances. As long as they don’t violate zoning requirements, they can proceed, WITHOUT EVER APPEARING BEFORE ANY BOARD OR COMMISSION. Hence, the destruction incrementally to our entire district proceeds without anyone ever having a say in it.
THIS IS CALLED, “ANR” or ‘Action not required.’
Now, I certainly fault the building inspector on the former, but he is not at fault on the latter! His title is ‘building inspector’ not ‘moralist’ not ‘preacher’ nor a ‘lecturer’. And he is certainly not a politician for setting policy.
Legally, he has no authority beyond following the law. So if we replaced Mr. Calderwood with an experienced historic preservationist, the OUTCOME WOULD BE THE SAME.
We desperately need to institute the local historic district ordinance so that he has the authority to direct an applicant inside the LHD to the local historic district commission over historic building issues. (External, Street-facing building issues.)
UNLESS WE INSTITUTE DESIGN REVIEW, WE CAN SLOW DOWN THE DESTRUCTION BUT WE CAN’T REALLY STOP IT.
We need to pass the Local Historic District Ordinance!