The Commission develops nominations for the listing of historic districts and individual properties on the National Register of Historic Places. The purpose of the HDC is: The Town of Amherst, located in the lovely Pioneer Valley of Western Massachusetts, is a diverse, inclusive community offering numerous educational and cultural opportunities. A significant structure is “A structure or site found by the Amherst Historical Commission to contribute to the historical or architectural heritage or resources of the Town.” Examples of historical, architectural, and geographic importance are listed in Section 13.4. Responsibilities include: 1. Review and regulate construction and alterations of any structure of building within the district, with consideration f… Well into the June 15 marathon Town Council Meeting, the Council turned to the usual pro forma approval of Town Manager appointments, when Councilor Mandi Jo Hanneke (at large) said she would abstain because of the nominees for reappointment to the Historical Commission, Jan Marquardt and Hetty Startup. Staff are available by email; please consult the Staff Directory to access email links. Amherst established its Commission in 1972. Developer Ted Parker is listed as a member of the Commission, but apparently has resigned. The Historical Commission recently voted 4-0 to impose a yearlong demolition delay on what is known as the Martha S. Hubbard House, a single … Maura Keene is an obstetrician-gynecologist at Bay State Health Systems. Could it be that scientifically-trained folks (like the author and this commenter) value the former, while some folks trained as lawyers might go the other way? I can’t see what has been achieved in more than 18 months of Town Council that has surely taken lots of the time and endurance of very intelligent people. The Historical Commission prepares and updates long-term plans for the preservation of Amherst’s critical historic, cultural, and archeological resources, working with other Town boards and committees to coordinate these efforts. It’s hard to evaluate her conclusions without actual facts. C of the Massachusetts General Bylaw. In 1833, a second daughter, Lavinia, was born. Governmental “checks and balances” can serve as a system of “peer review,” making sound decisions more likely; or it can serve as an “adversarial” system, affording the more powerful the opportunity to “win,” and thereby exercise more control over government. For instance, she said “a five year old building on a major road could be considered significant because it is a visual landmark.” She was concerned regarding some of the decisions made by the Commission as a whole, that some members may be determining their decision to issue a demolition delay by what structure was planned to be built on the site, not by the historic significance of the existing structure. The recent delay placed on the demolition of the 1869 Greek Revival home at 205 South Pleasant Street will be lifted when Amherst College presents a clear plan, to sell and relocate the structure that is said to be in the works. Department staff are working remotely and are ready to support your business needs, answer questions and schedule virtual meetings when necessary. The effect of these delays is to hurt economic development she said. This includes planning for the use of Community Preservation Act (CPA) funding for historic preservation projects. 2004 Amherst Preservation Awards of Merit, Dickinson Local Historic District Study Committee. Where can I get more information on recycling? During her adult years at the Homestead, Emily Dickinson began to write poetry in earnest. 2004 Amherst Preservation Awards of Merit, Dickinson Local Historic District Study Committee. The Trustees Say They’re Ready. I hope that after the Council meeting, Councilors will read the Bylaw and realize that a demolition delay of up to 12 months is preferable to having any of Amherst’s history destroyed without careful consideration of the impacts of that demolition on Amherst’s heritage and the significance of that heritage for the wellbeing of the Town. It was clear that Hanneke’s statement took the Council by surprise, that none had critically considered the work of the Historical Commission and that many were unfamiliar with the bylaw. I do not know any of these people personally, but it seems reasonable that they would have a different perspective on development and preservation than those wanting to build large modern buildings in town, and that is their job. During her most productive period, 1858 to 1865, she compiled her poems into small packets now termed “fascicles.” Only ten of her poems are known to have been published in her lifetime, all anonymously and presumably without her permission. ZBA Approves 28 Affordable Apartments At 132 Northampton Road, Planning Board Approves Plans For Emily Dickinson Museum. From North Amherst, to South Amherst, and to the center of town, historic places matter to our community. Yes, I am angry! Councilor Hanneke accused the Historic Commission of “using the Bylaw improperly,” in order to subvert certain development in Amherst. 40R Zoning Discussion Postponed Until November 18. What areas are covered by the Town's free wireless Internet? Shocked and dismayed that an educated person, trained as a lawyer, would make such value judgments based on a very sloppy (at best!) Fowler Dickinson, a lawyer, was one of the principal founders of Amherst College. This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Indeed, in a town with its history dating back to the 1600’s (incorporated in 1759) whose identify is so imbued with history, I see the ongoing work of the Commission as essential. Your email address will not be published. I was shocked to finally watch this segment of the June 15 Council meeting! I was unable to obtain a record of recent demolition delays issued by the Commission. Chapter 40C, for the preservation, protection and development of the historical and archaeological assets of the Town. What forms of payment does the Town accept? Her efforts to control the Commission and to impugn their motives because she disagrees with their decisions suggests a desire to undo thoughtful checks and balances that have worked well for this town for some time. A second method is categorical, meaning the properties are on a list of Cultural Resources … The Demolition Delay BylawSo what is actually in the bylaw? The Town of Amherst, located in the lovely Pioneer Valley of Western Massachusetts, is a diverse, inclusive community offering numerous educational and cultural opportunities. The Amherst Historical Commission was established by the Town, in accordance with M.G.L. In the end, the Council approved the Town Manager’s nominations to the Commission 11-0-2 with Hanneke and Council President Lynn Griesemer (District 2) abstaining. Where can I get more information on recycling? Photo: amherstma.gov. After Emily's death in 1886, Lavinia lived on at the Homestead until she died in 1899. Learn how your comment data is processed. And there are clear provisions for Emergency Demolition of any structure deemed “an immediate threat to public health and safety” as determined by the Building Commissioner to counter Schoen’s example. Clearly, this diatribe would/could be ruled out of order by the Town Meeting Moderator–or received a huge guffaw for such a display of a blatant power grab. (Information copied from the Emily Dickinson Museum website), Created in October 1972 by Amherst Town Meeting, the Historical Commission, is charged under local and state law with “the preservation, protection, and development of the historical and archeological resources of the Town.” The Commission is responsible for implementing the, The Commission maintains and updates an inventory of historic properties and sites in Amherst, available for review in the Planning Department office and at. She has lived in Amherst since 1982. I fault Hanneke for springing this matter on the Council without warning so that none of the Councilors had a chance to review the Bylaw. At that time, the Homestead was inherited by Austin’s daughter, Martha Dickinson Bianchi, and leased to tenants until 1916, when it was sold to the Parke family. The bylaw does have definitions, though they are to be “liberally construed”. reading of the three sections of criteria in Art.13 that define “historical significance”. In my next column I will go into the history of the Historical Commission and explore some case studies of demolition delays it has mandated, so we can better understand how the bylaw and the Commission work. A significant structure is “A structure or site found by the Amherst Historical Commission to contribute to the historical or architectural heritage or resources of the Town.” As to the members of the Commission, a Google search revealed that Marquardt is an Art Historian at UMASS and Startup is a public historian. It’s Time For The Public To Respond! It would be a stretch to see how the hypothetical five year old structure on a highway would qualify as historical unless it was the site of a significant event. Give me back Town Meeting ASAP. Am I registered to vote in the Town of Amherst? In 1830, his eldest son Edward, also a lawyer, and Edward's wife, Emily Norcross Dickinson, together with their young son Austin, moved into the western half of the Homestead.
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