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Selectmen Hear Update on Establishment of Historical District

During a December meeting, Mendon Historic District Study Committee Chair Mike Goddard provided the Board of Selectmen a brief update on the Committee's latest findings. Last spring, the Selectmen voted to establish the Committee, whose members are charged with investigating the possibility of establishing an official historic district within Mendon.

"Local historic district; the objective is preservation," he said. "It's focused on structures and maintaining a certain style, architectural and otherwise, associated with the town."

One of the challenges Goddard explained is trying to define what preservation means to people. For some, he said, it represents keeping everything the same. To others, it means to revitalize certain areas and then maintain a certain look and feel. "It's something we keep going back and forth on. We're getting a lot of feedback on that," he said.

The Historical District in Mendon would be focused on those areas and structures located in the Maple St., Hastings St., and Main St. triangle. Single structure districts, which are not part of that area are also being considered. The Committee has met twice with those residents who may be affected and thus far, Goddard said the feedback has been relatively positive. Should the Committee move forward with the District, a bylaw would need to be created, followed by a public hearing, and then a vote at the May Town Meeting.

The bylaw is meant to enforce certain changes that can and cannot be made to homes or businesses located within the district. "There's some oversight of what you can do to what you can see from the street," explained Goddard. Certain backyard projects might also require oversight. "We're not going to dictate the color you can paint your house. The intent is to make sure you don't have something like a metal shed appended to the side of your classic colonial."

Selectman Chair Rich Schofield wondered if Community Preservation Act funding could be utilized for more historical projects with the creation of the District. "It helps because it's identified as a historical area," said CPA Chair Anne Mazar. Tax incentives may also come with the establishment of the District.

"I'm excited to hear more about this," said Selectman Chris Burke. The Committee plans on keeping the Selectmen updated at future meetings. Goddard stated a Facebook page has also been created to keep residents informed.


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