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Durham debates its lapsed of historic commission

May 05, 2023 12:54 am

Nancy Kern reports for Columbia-Greene Media from the first Durham meeting since the announcement that the town is no longer eligible for many grants and other benefits after being decertified over noncompliance with the New York State Historic Preservation Office’s Certified Local Government program. Town Supervisor Shawn Marriott's failure to appoint new members to the commission led to the decertification, and loss of future grants. The town’s Historic Preservation Law was on the agenda of the workshop meeting, but was immediately tabled at the motion of Town Councilperson Joan Breslin, who said the board should get legal advice before redrafting the document. But during the public portion of the meeting, the issue resurfaced. Breslin and Marriott did not seem interested in offers from community members to help compile a history of the commission and its past accomplishments for the town. Marriott also denied any adversarial relationship between the town board and the public, saying, “I take offense to say that I’m fearful on a committee to assist on this.” The town supervisor did say he wanted fewer experts on a future committee, saying he wanted to relax the required Certified Local Government qualifications for Commission members. Resident Richard Goldstein said, "There’s a whole lot of healing that needs to be done. Otherwise this is just going to be a repeat of what you had before. Whether it’s a committee, however the community is engaged, and in whatever format, if one wants to have a whole non-polarized environment, an effort needs to be made by everyone who’s engaged in this.” And Marriott answered, “That needs to come from both sides.” Read more about this story at HudsonValley360.com.

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