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Rotterdam proposes preservation panel

Group would oversee the preservation of area landmarks

The Rotterdam Town Board approved an item at the Wednesday, July 14, meeting proposed by the Town of Rotterdam Conservation Advisory Council to create the Landmark and Historic Preservation Commission, which would oversee the designation and preservation of historical and cultural landmarks.

The committee would consist of five members, who are residents of the town. According to information provided by the town's Senior Planner Peter Comenzo, the panel would ideally include an architect experienced in working with historic buildings, a historian, a resident of a landmark-designated property, and someone who has been active in local historic preservation.

All members shall have a known interest in historic preservation, architectural development and natural resources within the Town of Rotterdam, and the county historian or nonvoting ex-official should be an advisor to this board, wrote Comenzo.

The committee would elect its own chairman and vice-chairman and meet quarterly unless the town supervisor, chairman or two commission members call a meeting or a building inspector submits an application for review, at which point the committee has 30 days to review.

The committee would be responsible for creating criteria that would be used to identify a "historical or cultural" landmark. A property may be designated a landmark if it is found to, as information provided by the town states, "possess special character or historic, prehistoric, or aesthetic interest or value as part of the cultural, political, economic or social history." It may have also been associated with historical local celebrities or may embody an architectural or cultural feature of the town.

Town officials are hoping the creation of such a committee would not only promote civic pride in the community, but also the economy. Stipulations of designated historical landmarks would include preserving the aesthetic appeal of properties and landmarks in the town to enhance attractiveness to visitors. With more visitors comes a greater influx of money, which would in return stimulate the economy. This would support further growth in the town.

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