A Correct Path for a Complete and Proper Reset of Historic Preservation in Kingston (and just in time).   

By Rebecca Martin

At last evening’s Kingston’s Historic Preservation Landmarks Commission (HLPC), the group introduced a draft of an updated preservation ordinance, modeled after the 2014 preservation ordinance, in accordance with the Certified Local Government guidelines (SHPO) and with preservation ordinances from Saratoga Springs, Syracuse, Buffalo, and Rochester.

Kingston having the rich history that it does, and seemingly everyone’s support to preserve it, requires clear guidelines, policies and laws which we simply haven’t had in place for a long time. Additionally, and for decades, the City of Kingston’s HLPC has been siloed from everything else. Today, we are on a clear path for a complete and proper reset of what is old and fragmented preservation guidelines. We encourage everyone to view this 50-minute discussion.  It’s illuminating and exciting to see a process like this being handled so professionally.

You can follow along with the video (starting at 2:00) and the powerpoint presentation (click on image below for the entire PowerPoint) created by HLPC’s Vice Chair Marissa Marvelli.

Kingston Preservation Ordinance Objectives

CLARITY.

  1. Removes Chapter 264: Historic and Architectural Design Districts which currently only applies to the Stockade.

  2. Offers a stronger structure in that it states up front the ordinance’s legislative intent, followed by the general and administrative duties of the commission.

  3. Uses clearer phrasing and terminology to explain criteria for designations, application review, affirmative maintenance, declaration of hardship, and enforcement.

  4. Codifies requirements of Certified Local Government (CLG): training, reports, inventory and other duties.

ADMINISTRATIVE CHANGES.

  1. Alternate members

  2. Removal of members for cause

  3. Costs of operation

  4. Lengthens commission approval to 24 months

  5. Stipulates ZBA as the appeal body

 

NEW TOOLS/MEASURES PROPOSED.

  1. Broadens definition of what can be considered a historic resource to include something that may yield information important to prehistory; a property that has achieved significance within the last 50 years; publically-accessible interiors; and scenic landmarks, possible examples being Company Hill Path and Hasbrouck Park summit.

  2. Acknowledges that sites may contain important archaeological resources and that they need to be documented.

  3. Establishes inventory of eligible landmarks