Apr 15, 2014 Jason Emerson Uncategorized
The Nelson Town Board last week approved a resolution to establish a historic resources survey and registry, the purpose of which is to not only help recognize and preserve historic properties, sites and areas in the town but will also allow designated properties to receive certain code exemptions during renovations and repairs.
The issue of the registry was previously discussed by the board at its February regular meeting when local investor Nancy Demyttenaere, who purchased the MacKinnon house at the Nelson four corners with a plan to open both a nanobrewery and coffee roaster business there, asked the board to designate the house as historically significant, which would then allow her to apply for a code exemption allowed to buildings of historic significance.
Demyttenaere, who has worked in the state historic preservation agency for the past 35 years, said without the exemption so many renovations and changes would have to be made to the building as to completely destroy the building’s historical integrity, as well as make such renovations economically unfeasible.
Town Supervisor Roger Bradstreet said at that meeting that the town completed a survey of historically significant structures in 2002, and the board discussed whether they could use that registry — which includes the MacKinnon house — to declare the building historically significant. This led to a broader discussion of how such a registry could help preserve all such significant properties in the town and possibly help those properties be renovated and re-used, which would benefit the community as a whole.
Town Attorney Jim Stokes did some research on the issue and wrote a resolution for the board to discuss at a later date.
During the board’s April 10 regular monthly meeting, the proposed resolution establishing the survey and registry was presented and discussed. The resolution declared it “a matter of public policy that the recognition, protection, enhancement and perpetuation of landmarks and historic properties and sites is important and necessary to promote the economic, cultural, educational and general welfare of the town of Nelson and its residents.” The registry would provide a “permanent record” of such historically significant structures and will provide a “basis and support” for decisions on future repair, renovations, rehabilitations and re-use of the included properties.
The proposal included the 48 properties recognized in the 2002 survey as being on the registry and allows the board to add or remove properties to the survey in the future as it sees fit.
“I believe there is a place for this in Nelson,” Bradstreet said. “I’m in favor; I see no reason to oppose it.”
Councilor John Laubscher said he was concerned that the creation of the registry may prompt owners of structures listed as historically significant to demand code exemptions and other “privileges” even if the building was so dilapidated that any attempts to repair or re-use it would not be feasible.
Councilor Mike Costello said the registry would only make such properties eligible to be considered for code exemptions, but the actual exemptions would be reviewed and decided by the town planning board, zoning board and codes officer.
“This is us saying some properties can be considered historic; it doesn’t mean they will be,” Bradsreet said.
The board voted unanimously to approve the resolution.
Also at the meeting, the board:
—Heard from Highway Superintendent Jack Sevier that the town will receive an additional $15,396 in Consolidated Local Street and Highway Improvement Program (CHIPS) money from the state as part of an “extended winter recovery” fund.
—Reappointed Costello to serve on the Madison County Sewer Board.
—Reminded town residents to register their dogs at the town office if they have not already done so.
—Agreed that the town of Nelson will not hold a town clean-up day this year as it has done in past years because the town is close enough to the Cazenovia Transfer Station that residents can drop-off their trash there.
—Approved a request from the Erieville Fire Department to use the Erieville Ball Field on Aug. 3 for a chicken barbecue.
—Reminded residents that May 4 to 11 is Madison County Buy Local Week, and encouraged everyone to shop locally not just during that week but as often as possible because it not only helps local businesses but also helps all county taxpayers.
Jason Emerson is editor of the Cazenovia Republican. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Jason Emerson is editor of the Cazenovia Republican and Eagle Bulletin newspapers.