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Town of Springfield's historical debate about becoming a historical district

By ALLISON NORLIAN

SPRINGFIELD, N.Y. (WKTV) - The Town of Springfield has been having a historical debate about whether or not to become a historical district, and on Tuesday, resident's, town board members and Historical Society members spoke their opinions before a meeting at the County Court house which involved members from the State Historical Preservation Office.

When a town becomes a historical society they are preserving their history, increasing their property value and may have better availability to grants and financial assistance. A historic district itself can take years to implement, an example is one historian from the Town of Springfield thought up this idea back in 1995.

Many local residents agree with the proposal while others feel why fix what they say isn't broken.

Ken Ostrander, a resident of the town said, " The thing is they've mishandled from not totally informing the public. It's a lot of the unknowns. The board can change hands, they can institute some kind of ordinance, historic district ordinance which would change local laws... and there could be more regulations or who knows what."

One member of the town historical society believes those opposed don't understand the true meaning of becoming a historical district.

Noel Dries said, "I don't see where it's a negative thing these people have an issue have not indicated what their issue is."

Some town board members feel they have been mislead including Bill Freeland, "The primary issue we're having is not so much about the affect of the historic district itself but the methodology to adopt the historic district. There is different criteria for a yes and no vote... at a bare minimum that criteria should be the same."

Two members from the State Historic Preservation Office attended a workshop for the town board members and said that the ordinances and zoning in a historic district is set by the town board itself.

The letters of support and notarized letters of disagreement will be sent to Kath LeFrank by mid-September.
The State will then make a decision.

SHPO may be postponing the vote and the town Councils Bill Freeland said he is going to introduce a resolution at the next town board meeting which will be held next Tuesday, September 3rd.

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