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Some restrictions are a good thing when remodeling properties

Posted 10/26/16

A recent article in the Press And Journal addressed a proposed zoning overlay. I tried to obtain a copy of the overlay, without success, so I haven’t read the wording of that proposal. However, if I interpreted the article correctly, the purpose …

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Some restrictions are a good thing when remodeling properties

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A recent article in the Press And Journal addressed a proposed zoning overlay. I tried to obtain a copy of the overlay, without success, so I haven’t read the wording of that proposal. However, if I interpreted the article correctly, the purpose is to create certain standards for remodeling properties, particularly of historic homes, in Middletown. 

If that is, indeed, what the overlay will do, I totally support it, even though, as a real estate investor and developer, it would probably cost a lot of additional money if I were to do another project like the Lady Anna House at 817 N. Union St. 

As an old colonial town, Middletown has some architectural treasures, particularly on Main and Union streets, that need to be protected. While some property owners are sensitive to just what it is that they own, many are not. 

There are countless examples of neat old brick and log homes covered by cheap aluminum and vinyl siding in our town, but the most recent and egregious example of an architectural travesty is the new, treated-lumber steps being built on the front of the former Grosh Building, now owned by the Middletown Historical Society. These steps would be appropriate for a job site trailer or a rear deck somewhere, but not on the front of Middletown’s flagship historic property. In addition to being ugly and architecturally incorrect, I believe, they don’t even meet minimum building code standards. Was there a building permit issued for this work? 

Councilwoman Diane McGlone said something in the Journal article to the effect that she opposed, at least, certain sections of the overlay because she felt it was her right to use “inexpensive siding” on a property if she chose to do so. Look around Middletown; cheap aluminum and vinyl siding is a major contributor to the blight that exists, particularly on Main Street. Her “right” to contribute to that blight, I believe, should be subordinate to the rights of the rest of us who own properties in which we take pride.

I’m not usually a supporter of additional government regulation, but when the Historical Society doesn’t get it and when a councilor who is supposed to be sensitive to the architectural renewal and redevelopment of our town doesn’t get it, government intervention is required.

Herbert C. Moore

Middletown

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