The discussion is sponsored by the Moultonboro Heritage Commission which was established in March 2009, "...to promote the proper recognition, use, and protection of significant historical and cultural resources in the Town of Moultonborough. Seeking to integrate preservation into the planning process, the Commission may advise and assist town boards regarding matters that affect historic buildings and sites. The Heritage Commission will also collaborate with local organizations, businesses, and individuals on community preservation projects."It is apparent that a very high percentage of respondents (84%) to the Village Vision survey felt that when planning for the future, it was important to preserve and encourage the use of historic buildings in the "village" area.
Only 21% of respondents agreed that property owners in the Village area should be able to do whatever they wanted with their property, regardless of the visual impact their actions may have.
The Laconia Daily Sun had a story last week about a revised Demolition Delay Ordinance in light of the failed efforts to save the Hathaway House. The amended ordinance triggered by a demolition permit, would apply to " significant" structures" at least 50 years old and demolition of more than 700 square feet of floor area. The Code Enforcement Officer decides if the property is " significant." The ordinance can delay demolition for a month or so and possibly two more months if a petition to the City Council is successful.
A draft demolition ordinance was discussed by the BoS here in Moultonboro in 2012 (minutes can be found here) and the consensus was not to proceed at that time. Is the time now? Maybe, so long as it does not infringe upon the rights of property owners.
It is a tough situation in the village.You have an estate trying to unload two properties, one I would say has high historic value ( the old Gilligans/Maurices/Country Fare) and the other a good business opportunity to get the Berry Pond Motel back on line. Next to the Old Country Store are two vacant properties both for sale that would be good candidates for small business and/or mixed use. Lots of potential for sure. What can we do as a town to attract new business?
The Village Vision report provides a road map of sorts and a singular vision for the village. One of the economic strategies of that report is to " Encourage re-use and re-development of existing historic buildings (rather than demolition) with compatible additions, in order to maintain existing village character, scale, and streetscape." A preservation strategy is to "Consider a demolition review process to allow for potential reconsideration when a significant property may be lost.
I'm more concerned about what might be built in the village as opposed to what already exists. If we are serious about preserving the look and character of the village, we have some work to do in defining some standards that maintain that look and character.