Historic district study group takes the long view

Written by Colleen Moore
 | Tuesday, 04 August 2009 21:16

The Duxbury Historic District Study Committee met with resistance again from High Street residents last week as they gathered in an effort to organize the research of a local historic district.

The committee’s first step is to not only educate the town on what a historic district is, but to work with town residents and get their opinion on having a local historic district.

Two residents of High Street attended the meeting and voiced their concerns. The residents said that the area was already discussed as a potential district in 1991, however the vote did not pass. They said that the residents still did not want a historic district on High Street.

“You should know what the people on the street feel,” Stuart Davis, a resident of High Street said.

Members of the committee stressed that this is just a study group to explore the possibility of a historic district in town. The residents were able to voice their concerns for the area, however since the committee is a working group, members said they can only allow for a certain amount of time for public comment.

“The operative word is ‘study,’” committee member Georgia Taft Pye said. The group has not even determined if there will be a historic district in town, or where a district would be, she said. The committee is working now to determine if the town needs a historic district. They are planning several small events throughout the fall to get the public’s opinion on a local historic district.

If a district is formed, the houses in the district will have to adhere to a set of special bylaws. The committee will disperse and a new historical district commission will be established to monitor any renovations that occur within the district. However, the committee is still at least a year away from determining if there is a need for a district in town, and where the district will be. There have been no decisions made as of now.

The group said that they wanted to preserve and protect the historical features of the town without being too restrictive.

“We wanted to strike a balance,” Pye said.

One of the main goals for the committee is to educate the town and get resident’s input on where to have a historic district. In order to do this, the committee is planning on having open houses in different areas of town to meet members of historic neighborhoods.

The committee decided on several historic areas around town to focus on, including Washington Street, Surplus Street, Cove Street, St. George Street, High Street and the Tinkertown area. The committee is planning on hosting small, informal coffee sessions in these areas to talk with the residents about the need for a historic district in town.

The committee is also hosting a meeting on Aug. 26 with a representative from the Massachusetts Historical Commission. Members of the town are encouraged to attend this meeting to learn more about historic districts.