Historical Shimishtorical

Mike and I got a letter from the Town on Wednesday. And for a split second, I imagined that our permit had arrived already - sans Conservation Commission.

When we opened it, we were shocked to discover that it came from the Historical Commission. Some Demolition Delay Bylaw would require us to pay $50 and appear before the Historical Commission - because our house is nearly 100 years old.

I was raging mad. First off - no demolition of any kind was in our permit. This was simply the addition of a farmer's porch - simple stuff, people! Second off, we hadn't gone through this when we lifted the entire house to put a foundation underneath... why was this project subject to this bylaw?!

And besides that - it's another $50 - so the Historical Commission can notify all my neighbors and everyone else in town via the newspaper. (And who reads that anymore anyway, but that's another blog.) So I have to pay another $50 on top of the $25 for the permit and another $50 because I'll probably still have to go through the conservation commission.

If that weren't enough, guess when the meeting is? 10am on a Tuesday. WTF!? So now, my husband has to miss work - lose pay - all in addition to paying the $50, I mean, $125.... At least the Conservation meetings are in the evening.

So Mike and I got into a huge argument. (We don't usually have arguments, so when I say huge argument - I mean we were just both pissed off.) At one point I said, "We didn't buy into any historical society and if we can't do what we want to this house - we're moving and I don't care."

I mean, we were pissed. And right there and then (at 10:00 at night mide you) I left a frantic and probably bitchy message on the town voicemail.

The next morning, however, a very nice woman called me back. In my psychoticness, I left the message on the wrong voicemail. (Well, they sent me the wrong business card, so partially not my fault, but I should have checked.)

Anyway, this woman was sooo nice. She explained that the law was created in just the past year or so, because of all the old buildings that were being just torn down in Bourne - without anyone saying anything about it. And I knew that to be true. I knew of a couple on my own street, in fact.

Urg... I hate to admit it, but I agree with the bylaw... having worked for the last almost 4 years to restore a historic Bourne home that probably would have been just bulldozed otherwise. And even though it's called a "Demolition" Bylaw - there's some stupid sentence somewhere in there that makes reference to the alteration to the exterior of the property... hence - our invitation to the commission review.

But I'm still not happy about the $50 and the Tuesday, 10am meeting. And I wouldn't mind it so much if I didn't have to go through the whole thing again with Conservation.

AND - with this "Demolition" notice being sent to my neighbors, they're going to think I'm tearing down my house or something!! That's probably going to get the Andersons up in a tizzy. I'm sure they'll show up at the meeting and claim that we're ruining a historical blah blah blah... Aholes.

I get so frustrated. But as I said, I do happen to agree with this bylaw. The nice town woman assured me that I probably wouldn't have any problems.... though she doesn't know about the Andersons. Plus, they're an old Bourne family who just love to throw their weighty opinions out in the open. And they may be politically connected as well.

I'm sooo nervous. And I'll be sweating it out for a couple weeks until the meeting.


Rebe said...

If you didn't have neighbors to worry about, I'd say just submit a letter in place of your actual presence. I've seen it done in my town, but your situation is different.

It does suck that you have to pay another $50. Since you are going to be showing up in person, I'd ask that the fee be waived. Your not demolishing anything, and if anything, you are contributing to the beautification of the historical home, increasing general property values in the area, uping town residential tax base... blah, blah, blah..

Or better yet, if the neighbor do show up, ask that they pay the fees.

kitrainia said...

Good idea - if I didn't have to be worried about neighbors, I would love to send a letter. One of my other neighbors is actually going to come with my husband to the meeting - so that'll be good too.

And I sent an email to the town, recommending that they change the wording on their letter to clarify the whole alteration vs demolition problem.