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MapmanNo1

Neighbors seek West Broadway neighborhood Historic District

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In today's Daily News...

Newport Residents Don't Want Neighborhood to Lose Historic Feel

news1.jpg

The construction of a large three-story house in the West Broadway neighborhood (the house is on Callender Avenue) has prompted some neighbors to seek to have their neighborhood designated an Historic District by the city. Shantia Anderheggen, the city's historic preservation planner, is in favor of the idea, but has encouraged organizers to get the support of residents before approaching the city council. The neighborhood's historic nature is well documented; this includes a 1977 report from the Rhode Island Historic Preservation and Heritage Commission (available here). Click here for a map of the city's current historic district boundaries.

And on a completely unrelated note, what's up with Christie's? I got home for Christmas and went down there today...There is "construction" fencing all around, but seemingly no activity. Has Dodo Hamilton announced what she's going to do with her not-so-newly acquired waterfront property? Any rumors or theories?

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I wouldn't be opposed to this neighborhood designated a historic district, as it is extremely rare to find such a large tract of 19th century working-class housing as intact as this is. However, I think it is overkill to be up in arms over this particular house. Okay, it is one story taller than its neighbors, but based on its massing and roofline (it's too early to say about materials) it seems sympathetic to its surroundings. Furthermore, it is on the fringe of the proposed historic district, near such architectural gems as the police station. Sounds like NIMBYism to me.

And on a completely unrelated note, what's up with Christie's? I got home for Christmas and went down there today...There is "construction" fencing all around, but seemingly no activity. Has Dodo Hamilton announced what she's going to do with her not-so-newly acquired waterfront property? Any rumors or theories?

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Mapman, I saw that article today. Pardon the french, but this quote blew my fudgeing mind:

"The triple-decker is in everyone's face," said Rob Bestoso of 45 Warner St. "People realize this could happen on a lot near them."

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A 3-story house. OH MY GOD, THIS COULD HAPPEN TO YOU. As if a 3-story house were some kind of curse or bane or blight or ...

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Drug dealers can hide on the 3rd floor. I mean really, I live on the 3rd floor, you don't want people like me in Newport! :shok::unsure:

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Oh you can rest assured that there's certainly some drug dealing already taking place in that neighborhood. Pond Ave? The subsidized housing on Kingston? We're not talking about Bellevue Ave here folks.

What's truly insane about this complaint is that there are already plenty of triple-deckers in that neighborhood. Park? Yes. Callender? Yes. Burnside? Yes. Many places along Warner? Yes.

I really DO NOT see the guy's beef here.

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:wub: The Abbey's windmill :wub:

Agreed, but given the attitudes of the current land owners there, I dont see that happening.

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So just to refresh my memory, I took a drive through the West Broadway area this morning. FWIW, I say that the journalist's take is completely false & misleading: Callendar Ave is by no means dominated by 1- or 1 1/2-story homes. That's the prejudiced opinion of a journalist just trying to rake muck. But by the same token, I disagree with the take (in today's ProJo) that had Callendar Ave consisting of some 15 3-story homes.

For the record, Callendar Ave consists almost entirely of 2- and 2 1/2-story homes. I counted only one triple-decker, but that triple-decker happens to be 14 Callendar Ave, which is across the street and just a couple of lots down the street from the lot in question. Actually, that house at 14 Callendar looks suspiciosly similar to the controversial new house. :unsure:

Furthermore, Burnside Ave, just one street over from Callendar, consists of almost nothing but triple-deckers. But perhaps you'll say that those houses aren't relevant, inasmuch as they don't sit on the same street as the controversial lot on Callendar, so maybe they have no bearing on the issue of what is appropriate development for Callendar Ave. OK, and I might even concede you that point, if only you'll answer me this one question: why then does Mr Bestoso's opinion mean jackcrap? Because his house isn't located on Callendar Ave either, but rather on Warner St. In fact, his house (at 45 Warner St.) isn't even on the intersection of Warner and Callendar, but rather on the intersection of Warner and Kingston -- again, a mere one street over from Callendar. So if his opinion means a damn, then you can't rule out the precedent of all those triple-deckers on Burnside.

As I said before, fear-mongering at its worst. :angry:

Edit: and BTW, there's some steel up for the new Sovereign Bank on Thames. I'm no expert, but it appears that the building will be 1 story.

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I grew up about 4 blocks from Callendar Ave. One of the great appeals of that neighborhood for my family has always been that it is NOT a historic district, and you don't have to deal with the Historic District NIMBYs and snobs you gotta deal with a few bocks over. There are a number of craftsman's workshops and light manufacturing operations in the neighborhood, including darkrooms, studios, metalshops and other stuff. Also, there are the remnants of a racially integrated working-class community, which has been sadly fading as Newport real estate has gotten more and more dear.

Ok, here's my idea- A historic district with rules that are representative of the real history of the neighborhood: House paint must be either a) peeling; b) patchy and hand-done by the owner's grandson over the course of a year or more; or c) a color that gives the Point Association folks hives. Traffic shall be impeded by dirty-faced multi-hued children on hand-me-down bikes. Cars from years 1910-1980 shall be worked on in yards. Doors shall be left unlocked. Local drunks shall be humored. Pot shall be smoked on sagging porches. Impromptu gardens shall be created along chain link fences. Churches shall be loud. At least 2 houses per block shall be occupied by 3 or more generations. We don't need to be exclusive, of course, the regulations can even make room for Mr. Bestoso's restored Victorian with boat flags!

Disclaimer- I don't know Mr. Bestoso. From the address, I'm just assuming those boat flags are his.

The neighborhood in question is extremely dense and the lots are generally tiny, so there's not much room for new construction. I do think there are some legitimate concerns about the quality of new buildings that have gone up in the past 10 years or so, and some better regulation needed on lot coverage (as in the case of those huge new things with no yard on Pond).

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Mr. Bestoso is indeed a yacht owner and proud of it, so you're probably right.

Pond is a problem unto itself. Now, if you want to talk about inappropriate development, let's talk about those horrible subsidized thingies on Pond.

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I believe they're doing so right now, under their new ownership.

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when i went to visit last spring, they were fixing some of the outside. the woman made it sound like they weren't going to do much with the interior.

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Pros, cons of historic zone in Newport aired [1/31/2007 Daily News]

From the Daily News:

About two dozen people met Tuesday night...to hear from the city's historic preservation planner, Shantia Anderheggen...the discussion mostly was informational. [Historic District advocate]Rob Bestoso...was not at the meeting.

Bestoso roughly has designated the boundaries of the proposed district with part of Van Zandt Avenue and all of Gould Street to the north, Marlborough Street to the south, Farewell Street to the west and Wheatland Boulevard to the east. Anderheggen said a neighborhood survey and study of the homes in the entire area would have to take place before any boundaries are firmly delineated. If a significant number of residents in the area favor creation of a historic district, she said city staff would become involved in surveying the area.

Bestoso has said he and his neighbors believe that fabric of the neighborhood should be protected, and spared oversized new homes that cover whole lots.

City Council members Charles Y. Duncan, Justin McLaughlin and Jeanne-Marie Napolitano were present at the meeting.

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Ahoy!

Bestoso here:

To date 73% of home owners are in favor of a West Broadway Historic District. 11% undecided. 10% against. 6% are to confused to vote for, against or undecided. This weekend I should be finished with my survey. It's not my weekend to entertain my kids, so I can get more signitures.

Say hi to the LONE RANGER.

rOB

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Ahoy!

Bestoso here:

To date 73% of home owners are in favor of a West Broadway Historic District. 11% undecided. 10% against. 6% are to confused to vote for, against or undecided. This weekend I should be finished with my survey. It's not my weekend to entertain my kids, so I can get more signitures.

Say hi to the LONE RANGER.

rOB

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Ahoy!

Bestoso here:

To date 73% of home owners are in favor of a West Broadway Historic District. 11% undecided. 10% against. 6% are to confused to vote for, against or undecided. This weekend I should be finished with my survey. It's not my weekend to entertain my kids, so I can get more signitures.

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I hope this works. I just stumbled upon this site last night- never knew it existed.

my survey so far is based on approximately 44 households, not alot by any means. However, I hope to double the amount over the weekend.

I start at the beginning of a street in the area and visit the first 10 houses. I have no idea how people will vote. (for, against or undecided.) I also accept renters opinions. A survey should be open to all residents and not just propery owners.

I believe some people really don't understand why I started this project. I am a bit upset about the house on Callender Avenue because the Zonng Board of Review allowed such a large house on such a tiny lot with no regard for abutting neighbors. Take a look at the 3' back yard. You call this great zoning and planning? Ask the woman who lives behind this house and you will change your tone.

I case you haven't noticed, this neighborhood is becoming more expensive as home owners sell out to the highest bidder. Such is the real estate market in a coastal area. If people are concerned about the next generation (my kids) being able to afford this neighborhood then they should sell their house for half price.

Now I have questions for all of you: What does it matter if I own a boat? Why would anyone

chit chat on such a site as this unless they are somehow involved in urban affairs/planning.

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I hope this works. I just stumbled upon this site last night- never knew it existed.

my survey so far is based on approximately 44 households, not alot by any means. However, I hope to double the amount over the weekend.

I start at the beginning of a street in the area and visit the first 10 houses. I have no idea how people will vote. (for, against or undecided.) I also accept renters opinions. A survey should be open to all residents and not just propery owners.

I believe some people really don't understand why I started this project. I am a bit upset about the house on Callender Avenue because the Zonng Board of Review allowed such a large house on such a tiny lot with no regard for abutting neighbors. Take a look at the 3' back yard. You call this great zoning and planning? Ask the woman who lives behind this house and you will change your tone.

I case you haven't noticed, this neighborhood is becoming more expensive as home owners sell out to the highest bidder. Such is the real estate market in a coastal area. If people are concerned about the next generation (my kids) being able to afford this neighborhood then they should sell their house for half price.

Now I have questions for all of you: What does it matter if I own a boat? Why would anyone

chit chat on such a site as this unless they are somehow involved in urban affairs/planning.

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my survey so far is based on approximately 44 households, not alot by any means. However, I hope to double the amount over the weekend.

I believe some people really don't understand why I started this project. I am a bit upset about the house on Callender Avenue because the Zonng Board of Review allowed such a large house on such a tiny lot with no regard for abutting neighbors. Take a look at the 3' back yard. You call this great zoning and planning? Ask the woman who lives behind this house and you will change your tone.

I case you haven't noticed, this neighborhood is becoming more expensive as home owners sell out to the highest bidder. Such is the real estate market in a coastal area.

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Good evening to the thousands of people interested in the proposed West Broadway Historic District:

I guess what I am trying to prevent is the "fallriverfication" of my neighborhood. I few years ago a speculator bought the illegal three family apartment house directly accross from my house. It was rennovated in the early 1980's when the illegal third apartment was constructed on the top floor. The speculator applied vinyl siding (ugly!), flipped the house and rode out of town with more than $150K. Up goes the rent on the working stiff once again.

They next owner/ speculator kicks out the working stiff family and decides to make three condo's instead of apartments. To get more money the sleezebag from Boston makes the small one bedroom unit on the first floor into a two bedroom. I believe they are going to ask $240k

Of course I am going to remind the building inspector's office that the top floor is illegal and therefore can't be sold as a condo. It is zoned as a two family but I know the owner will probably seek a variance from the Zoning Board of Review.

They will probably win because the members of the Board don't know how to say "no".

THE OLD LADY WHO LIVED IN A SHOE VARIANCE

Similiar situation with the house on Callender Ave.

Believe it or not, we have Zoning regulations to provide ample space and sun light between houses, minimize over-crowding of people, and (with the advent of the automobile) minimize over-crowding of city streets.

Now let's say an idividual has an undersized lot he wishes to give to his kid that legally and demensionally is fit for a one car garage. The kid wants to build the biggest house on the street with three full floors. (Note: Most of the existing homes are 2 1/2 stories FYI).

This is the secret on how to pull it off: Simply apply for a variance at the Newport Zoning Board, tell them that you have a bunch of kids and they need the room. Your variance will be approved.

How do I know? About a year ago, I asked an official at City Hall if I would have a problem adding to my house. The official said I would have a problem because of set back requirements even though I was considering building up and not out. Then I mentioned that I needed more room for my four kids. "We usually grant a variance in situations like yours" was the reply.

I really don't need the extra room for my kids, but if I was wheeler and dealer I would build the addition. A few short years would pass and the kids would be out of the house. Low and behold, why I could sneek in a few apartments and over crowd the neighborhood.

And so it goes

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I guess what I am trying to prevent is the "fallriverfication" of my neighborhood. I few years ago a speculator bought the illegal three family apartment house directly accross from my house. It was rennovated in the early 1980's when the illegal third apartment was constructed on the top floor. The speculator applied vinyl siding (ugly!), flipped the house and rode out of town with more than $150K. Up goes the rent on the working stiff once again.

They next owner/ speculator kicks out the working stiff family and decides to make three condo's instead of apartments. To get more money the sleezebag from Boston makes the small one bedroom unit on the first floor into a two bedroom. I believe they are going to ask $240k

Of course I am going to remind the building inspector's office that the top floor is illegal and therefore can't be sold as a condo. It is zoned as a two family but I know the owner will probably seek a variance from the Zoning Board of Review.

They will probably win because the members of the Board don't know how to say "no".

Now let's say an idividual has an undersized lot he wishes to give to his kid that legally and demensionally is fit for a one car garage. The kid wants to build the biggest house on the street with three full floors. (Note: Most of the existing homes are 2 1/2 stories FYI).

This is the secret on how to pull it off: Simply apply for a variance at the Newport Zoning Board, tell them that you have a bunch of kids and they need the room. Your variance will be approved.

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if that's what you're telling people when you survey, then it's no wonder you have so many people saying they're in favor of it.

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damn it! I just erased my message. I,m going to get a beer a pour judgement.

Good bye Lone Ranger.

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