I am not sure how long this debate has been going on, but there is a debate in progress regarding the definition of historic preservation: is it preserving the status quo… as our buildings are today? Or, is it preserving a particular state of a building at some point in the past?
If we were to maintain the status quo, the Town Hall would remain the same except for some repairs and a new white paint job. If we were to preserve it to 1872, we would restore the shutters, the cupola, its colorful exterior and perhaps the slate roof.
While the latter admittedly may be idealistic, the former defies understanding.
Some are obsessed with what the Commission can and cannot force others to do. More time should be spent thinking about those things that we could and should persuade people to do. We should allow ourselves a minimal objective below which we should not go but also, we should try to persuade our residents to move more towards our ideal for the sake of their property values and for the sake of our historical preservation.
Actually, the precise definition and understanding of our ‘Criteria for Determination’ will resolve this misunderstanding or lack of understanding. So, we must continue our discussion on the ‘Criteria for Determination’ until we succeed in clearly defining each criterion for ourselves, and documenting/codifying the clarifications.