The zoning amendment for Section 9 or the “Infill Ordinance” comes up for its second reading, I believe, at the Newburyport City Council tonight. I hope against hope, of course, that it passes.
At the Public Hearing for the zoning amendment to Section 9, an architect, who I’ve know ever since I moved here and like very, very much, spoke up.
His concern was that the amendment would not effect the “design” of whatever was proposed. I believe I also heard him say that this amendment was much less “daunting” than he first expected.
The issues the zoning amendment addresses are trying to make sure that whatever is being built fits in with the neighborhood in relationship to size, scale, massing and volume. It says nothing about “design.” And everything that I know that this architect has been responsible for would fit in with the revisions to section 9 just fine.
This architect also said something to the effect that although he understood that really good modern architecture was very difficult, it could often be a challenge for more contemporary architecture to be accepted in Newburyport, MA.
And I not only love the old buildings that give our small seacoast city the “patina” that I love so much, but having an art education in the 60’s and 70’s, I really, really love good modern architecture.
And I probably have a much more “live and let live” approach to what is built or amended than what most people would expect. I am by no means a purest, although I enjoy what purest preservationist offer a lot.
And probably one of my favorite modern buildings in Newburyport, MA, are the very modern condominiums at the top of Johnson Street. I love them.
And as far as I’m concerned, they may be contemporary, but they fit in with the neighborhood in respect to scale, mass and volume just fine.
(Oh, gasp, preservationists.)
So I hope the Amendment to Section IX passes tonight. As far as our zoning issues go, I think it is a very good first step.