Bath Landmarks group removes properties from historic district

by Trish Rudder

Three properties have removed from the Town of Bath Historic District list after being deemed ineligible to remain as contributing properties.

At the January 25 Historic Landmarks Commission (HLC) meeting, the members voted to remove the two contributing structures in town that no longer qualify to be included in the historic district. One is at 79 South Green Street and the other is at 175 Wilkes Street.

The house at 79 S. Green St. was readdressed as 151 First Church St. All historic craftsmanship was removed and is now renovated with vinyl siding.
photo by Trish Rudder

Commission member Zack Salman made this recommendation at the August Landmarks meeting but it was tabled until January 25.     He said they are no longer eligible when historic materials are removed from properties.

The members in attendance were Ryan Rebant, Salman (by phone) and newly-elected member Ken Hoagland.

Salman said the Landmarks Commission needs to take action when distinctive materials are removed or features are altered that characterize a property.

He wrote a letter in July 2023 to the commission recommending why the two structures are no longer viable as historic.

“Since May 2021, multiple destructive renovations have taken place within the Town of Bath and further threatened the viability of the Town of Bath Historic District’s listing on the National Register. To continue to recognize these properties as contributing sets the adverse example that this type of disregard for the conservation of the historic district is acceptable and that the Town of Bath is unable to hold itself to a meaningful standard of historic preservation,” Salman wrote.

The third property at 21 Fairfax Street is about 40 years old and was accidentally listed as a contributing property on the Historic District list, Salman said in the meeting.

Salman is to file the paperwork with the state’s historical preservation office to remove these properties from the town’s  historic list.

Rebant conducted the meeting since the Landmarks president resigned last August. He said a training session for the members will be held February 20-22 by the State Historical Preservation Office (SHPO). He said one of his goals is “more training, knowledge and information.”

Rebant said the state office will conduct another workshop this spring or summer.

It was asked what the Landmarks Commission responsehas been to the SHPO letter that asked the town to implement improvements to its Certified Local Government (CLG) program.

Rebant said a letter was sent to the Town of Bath officials for their draft letter back to SHPO that listed its improvements as follows:

–an October 20 training workshop

–the train depot was updated

— social media impact was being updated

— the HLC was to add input to the town demolition review for the Ordinance Committee.

Rebant said he did not know what the status is on the demolition review.

Bath Town Recorder, Susan Webster attended the meeting and is also a member of the Ordinance Committee. She commented that having “input” does not necessarily mean that the Ordinance Committee will include the Historic Landmarks Commission recommendations.

An email from Bath Councilman Greg Schene said on Monday said he “did not know the exact details of our current Demolition Ordinance,” and would provide more information next week.

In the meeting, it was asked how to get information on the 50 to 70 historic buildings in town.

Rebant said the public can attend the Historic Landmarks Commission meetings and attend the SHPO workshops that are open to the public.

The next Landmarks meeting is Thursday, February 29 at 2 p.m. at Town Hall.