|By Carley Dangona|
WEST SPRINGFIELD – After years of inactivity, the Historic District Commission (HDC) has begun its efforts to explicitly define the two historical districts of the town.
At its September meeting, the HDC requested the assistance of the Pioneer Valley Planning Commission (PVPC) to define the boundaries of the historic sections of the town. The commission has since received confirmation that Historic Preservation Planner Elizabeth Rairigh is working on the request.
“We’re really being proactive,” Roberta Page, HDC chair, said. “Many of those in the districts are not aware of the procedures and guidelines when starting various projects. We, certainly, do not want to inhibit growth and ideas, but it is helpful if owners are given some support and information as to when and how to proceed with their potential plans.”
Page explained that the goal of the PVPC research is to provide the HDC with information to create a development letter and informational brochure that would include procedures and basic design guidelines suggestions for businesses and residents within the two districts.
The first historic district consists of the former church, now Rotary Records that is located at 732 Elm St., and the second is the Broadway Historic District, which encompasses both town commons, and the north side of Park Street.
Page, vice chair Harold White and secretary Helen Calabrese comprise the HDC. Per Massachusetts General Law, there can be up to seven members on the commission that seeks additional members.
“What folks don’t realize is that projects need to be reviewed by the commission when there is a contemplation of starting something. There may be some suggestions, direction or funding that could be provided by the commission or other sources. In any event, prior notice of an impending project needs to be reviewed and a Certificate of Appropriateness from the HDC issued to the owner before the project begins. Essentially, it just means that all is okay and a stamp of approval is given as long as historical significances are addressed,” Page explained.
The PVPC’s findings will be presented to the HDC at its next meeting on Oct. 18 at 10:30 a.m. in the Tatham Meeting Room on the second floor of the Town Hall, 26 Central St.
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