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Spa City could see historic district expansion

The local Historic Zoning District in Saratoga Springs could soon see some expansion and include several new portions of property in the downtown area, if all goes as planned. The Saratoga Springs Preservation Foundation announced at its Tuesday, Jan. 12 meeting, that it has petitioned the city to expand the Broadway Historic District to include properties listed on the National Register of Historic Places but not currently included in the City designated historical district.

The proposed expansion, which Mayor Scott Johnson has agreed to put before the City Council, includes portions of Carriage House Lane, Clement Avenue, Clinton Street, First Street, Fourth Street, Greenfield Avenue, State Street and Woodlawn Avenue. Some of the more recognizable residences affected are a cluster of homes facing the Skidmore soccer field.

These streets have some of Saratoga Springs' most beautiful residences. They are worthy of preservation for future generations, said Douglas Kerr, foundation president.

Properties included in the city's historic district are protected from inappropriate alterations and unwarranted demolitions, said Samantha Bosshart, the foundation's executive director. For exterior changes to historic properties, the city's Design Review Commission would have jurisdiction over what would be allowed. Changes include roof repairs, which have to use the original material, changing the appearance of a front porch or building an addition. Paint color is never regulated.

Bosshart said several homeowners are concerned with what will happen to their property rights should the expansion be approved. She said they don't want to acquire the additional review layer and be told what they can and can't do to the exterior of their house. She said the final decision is that of the Council's and that it will act in what it believes is in the best interest of residents.

"We are optimistic that there will be this expansion," said Bosshart.

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