One of the things that I often hear opponents of Newburyport’s proposed Local Historic District (LHD) say, is that no one would ever hurt High Street.
I came across an article written in March 2007, that talks about 63 High Street (which can be read here). The home, gorgeous home, was saved from a potential developer who wanted to tear it down and build condos. The present owner, not only restored the home, but also the fence. It is a gorgeous home and a gorgeous fence, and the fence is also part of the historic fabric of Newburyport, and would have been so easy to tear down (apparently along with the rest of the property!)
This home is on the the high side of High Street called the “Ridge,” where the land stretches way back. Below is a map of the land that goes along with 63 High Street. One can only imagine what a developer could do with all that land.
And 63 High Street is just one of many, the land in back of the houses on the Ridge side of High Street is extensive, and one of my fears is that it’s just a matter of time before developers develop that land back there, and Newburyport, you can just kiss your economic value goodbye. And that day will arrive, it will happen piece by piece, little by little, hardly noticeable at first, and then one day, like other parts of historic Newburyport, “Wow, what happened?”
And one of the things that also worries me about High Street is that people would want to build in front of those stately houses.
Never happen you say. Not so. On June 7, 2006 the owners of 347 High Street came before the Newburyport Planning Board to “discuss” putting a second home in front of the existing home that is further up on the Ridge. It didn’t happen in 2006, but it wasn’t because a homeowner didn’t try. The minutes for that meeting can be read here (page 4).
High Street not in danger?? As Mark Twain said, “Denial ain’t just a river in Egypt.”