As the most populated town in Saratoga County, when many think of Clifton Park, images of strip malls and congested highways come to mind. However, in this town of 47 square miles, there still remain the vestiges of a deep and rich history. The Clifton Park Historic Preservation Commission held a public hearing on June 12 to give the public an opportunity to comment on proposed changes to Article XIII of Local Law No. 10 of the Town Zoning Code.
This was the second public hearing on the proposed amendments. The first public hearing was held on April 18.
The historic preservation commission is an advisory board and has no powers on its own, but makes recommendations that can be acted upon by the town planning board and town board. The commission was formed in 1992, and the town preservation code was adopted in 1996. At the time, 24 houses in the town were selected to be on the Historic Register.
The town of Clifton Park's historian John Scherer provided an overview of the proposed amendments.
\Under the existing code, houses were designated on the Register subject to approval of any changes to building exteriors, Scherer said. "But through a miscommunication between the preservation commission and the town board, the town board made it a voluntary choice to be placed on the Historic Register. Predictably, few wanted to remain on the Register, because they would be subject to exterior restrictions. As a result, the Register was made an honorary designation, in order to acknowledge the importance of historic structures in the town. Today, there are now no restrictions on being designated part of the historic register. However, the town code still reflects the original exterior restrictions on houses designated on the Register."
To remedy this inconsistency, the proposed amendments are designed to reflect what has been in effect for the last 10 years, that there are no restrictions on houses designated on the Historic Register. The commission had also adopted farm conservation tax easements and applied them to historic preservation. The result was that while the desig-nations were honorary, in order to apply and receive the ease-ments, the homeowner had to comply with the code regarding exterior restrictions.