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November 7, 2013

Proposed historic district in Springfield tabled


“They could make it easier to justify,” said Ostrander.

Dries said that he has heard of no complaints stemming from either the Glimmerglass Historic District, which covers Lake Otsego and the land around it, or the Lindsey Patent Historic District, which includes Cherry Valley, from landowners. He also said that the historic district wouldn’t provide a gateway for more restrictive statutes down the road.

Dries said that even though he and other historical society members have explained that adopting the district would not restrict property owners, rumors in the town have abounded, including one that the designation would restrict the types of windows and paint landowners could use.

“Anytime we tried to explain things to some of these people they said ‘You’re wrong,’” said Dries.

Ostrander said that the benefits that could be gained from the district were outweighed by the potential unknowns. He also said that the residents didn’t like the idea of another layer of land use regulation.

“They just didn’t want more regulations or restrictions,” he said.

Because of the opposition to the designation, the board voted to pull its support from the effort in September 2012. One of the reasons was that the board objected to the process for approving the district.

In order to defeat the proposal, a majority of landowners in a proposed historic district must send notarized letters voicing their opposition. Those who support a district, however, need to take no action.

Ostrander and other opponents of the designation went door to door to collect such letters.

“We ended up with over 300 objection letters notarized,” said Ostrander, who had them deliver to SHPO. “They had to acknowledge there were a lot of ... unrepresented voices.”

In order to address some of the concerns of the residents, officials from SHPO did a presentation for the Springfield Town Board on Aug. 27, followed by a public forum. Dries said, however, that this wasn’t particularly effective.

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