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I have been traveling for the better part of the past three weeks between a wonderful family destination wedding and business travel for my “real job” so I apologize if I have not responded to your emails as quickly as I typical do. It was very hard being out of the country for our annual September 11th remembrance ceremony. I owe a great deal of thanks to Trustee Connie Kehoe for filling in admirably as the master of ceremonies last Wednesday. As I have said in the past, in addition to mourning those that lost their lives that day, it is important to remember the outpouring of humanity that followed in the days and weeks after the tragedy. This was not only from the heroic emergency service workers, but from our friends and neighbors as well. The worst of humanity truly brought out the best in America. So while I will never forget the evil of that day, I will also never forget the love, support and caring that followed.
At tonight’s Board of Trustees meeting (Monday, September 16, 2013 at 7:00 p.m. in Village Hall), we will be discussing the formation of an Historic District in the Village. At this point, we have submitted an application to the New York State Historic Preservation Office seeking to designate an Historic District that includes properties in and around the Main Street area. If our application is approved, we will have established an Historic District in Irvington. What does that mean? If we choose not do anything further, it will only mean two things – we have an area of the Village that the federal and state governments believe to be historic and residents of the District could apply for federal and state grants for renovations of properties in the District. This step, by itself, does not have any impact on a property owner’s ability to renovate or even demolish a building in the District (within the regular building codes of the Village, of course).
One of the questions I hear is “what does the Village plan to do if this application is accepted by the federal and state governments?” The answer is two parts: 1. The Board of Trustees do not have proposed legislation at this time. 2. The Historic District Committee has been asked by the Board of Trustees to develop a proposal for legislation to help protect the character of the District. The development of legislation will likely take months if not years and will only happen if there is the support of the property owners in the District. I am very conscious of home owner rights and, in my mind, it usually takes priority. But, some well thought out legislation that would preserve the beautiful “downtown” area of our Village also makes sense. I look forward to a constructive, thoughtful dialogue in the coming days and months. This issue is certainly too important and too impactful to move quickly.
Enjoy the beautiful late summer/early fall weather we are experiencing and please contact me at the email address below with any thoughts or concerns you have about any Village issues.
Brian C. SmithMayorbsmith@irvingtonny.gov