Historic district group widens net

Written by Administrator
 | Tuesday, 18 August 2009 15:20
We want to hear from you –– that's the message a group studying the possibility of creating a historic district in Duxbury is sending. Duxbury is a historic town, and the Local Historic District Study Committee wants to cast as wide a net as possible while gathering information for their report.

The committee has been tasked by the Board of Selectmen with investigating the merits of a historic protection district in Duxbury. In such a district, homeowners would have to submit any major changes they planned on doing to their homes to a committee, which would then issue a “certificate of appropriateness” if the changes were approved.

Neighborhoods being looked at are Cove Street, Surplus Street, three areas of Washington Street, Standish Shore, the bridge and cemetery, High Street, Temple Street, Tinkertown, St. George Street, Milbrok, Tremont Street near the town hall.

Committee chairman James Hartford stressed the fact that the group is simply collecting information. No decision has been made about where such a district would be, or even if one is needed.

“We're just trying to get the word out,” he said.

The committee is hosting a speaker from the state who will talk about historic districts, Aug. 26, at 7 p.m. at the Duxbury Senior Center. Hartford is hoping that more discussion will stem from that meeting, perhaps neighborhood specific, informal talks like coffee hours.

A historic district is most often used to protect historically valuable homes, but this isn't the only reason for such a protection. Hartford mentioned the area in front of town hall, near the intersection of Depot and Tremont Street, as a possible target, as well as the King Caesar House (currently a museum) and Bumpus Park on Powder Point.

“That's another significant property that you would want to encumber with everything possible to protect it,” he said.

Duxbury has over 4,000 homes, many of which may have a historic nature. Part of the challenge of the group will be establishing a guideline as to what is worth of protection.

Terry Vose, who is also a member of the Historical Commission, presented the group with a study done several years ago by that board of homes in Duxbury.

“It gives you an idea why [the woman who did the survey] thought these areas were important.”

“This is a town that likes data points,” said Hartford. “It could help the discussion.”

Hartford said he still had a lot of questions about what kind of protections a historic district would offer. For example, if the town votes to protect Tremont Street in front of Town Hall, what would happen if the state wanted to widen the highway?

“These are a lot of the little things that will come up when we get to open forum,” he said.