Historical Commission Meeting

Monday, October 17, 7:00 pm until 8:30 pm
A meeting of the Historical Commission

Meeting of Historical Commission

Members: (Quorum)

  • Absent: Edie Field, Honorary
  • Present: Carole Desanti, at 7:00 PM
  • Present: Susan Lynton, at 7:00 PM
  • Present: Anne Schuyler, at 7:00 PM
  • Present: Eva Gibavic, at 7:00 PM
  • Present: Ann Tweedy, at 7:00 PM
  • Present: Sara Robinson, at 7:00 PM
  • Present: Susan Mareneck, Chair, at 7:00 PM

Also Present:

  • Carol Heim
  • Steve Weiss
  • Cynthia Baldwin
  • Samuel Black

See original Agenda * * * DRAFT Meeting Minutes * * *

Meeting opened: 7:00 PM

Meeting closed: 9:04 PM

  1. Meeting Preliminaries

  2. Requests

    • Requests - Requests for Letters of Support for CPA Fund applications from Leverett Historical Society (LHS), Friends of the North Leverett Sawmill (FONLS), Rattlesnake Gutter Trust (RGT).

      General Discussion...
      Steve Weiss, RGT board member presented their request for LHC letter of support for their CPA funding application to initiate an assessment of the physical condition and the legal status of Rattlesnake Gutter Road. Discussion included questions regarding which CPA category was most appropriate to this application, whether state or federal monies would be desirable, though all agreed that this landscape and environment were of historic importance to the town. In order to determine the process and secure bids, the status of the road must be determined - is it a county road? Might FRCOG play a role in the research and funding?

      Discussed Town Hall ''grounds-work'' CPA application. It was deemed a worthy project in preparation for the town's 250th anniversary in 2024, but was the consensus of members that this does not fall within what is allowed for CPA funding under ''Historic Preservation''. Suggestions were made about the town budgeting for such maintenance work or approaching the 250th Committee which has received supplementary funding from the state for the anniversary celebration.

      Regarding the Leverett Historical Society's request for LHC to write a letter of support for their 2022 proposal to preserve the Moore's Corner Schoolhouse, the one remaining of ten former one-room schoolhouses in Leverett, discussion included: a description of work that has been done in the past year, restoration of the chimney this summer, new programming beginning fall 2022. There was a suggestion that the budget be further detailed. Additional information about the support of the Moore's Corner Church, that this is an application for the first phase to secure the building envelope. There will be further planning regarding use and interior rehab. Ann Tweedy disclosed a gift from her family foundation to the Historical Society during the past fiscal year.

      Representatives of the Friends of the North Leverett Sawmill (FONLS) Cynthia Baldwin and Sam Black, gave an update on the proposal they submitted for CPA funding for the ''Heritage Site & Nature Trail'' on the two lots downstream from the sawmill, one owned by FONLS, one by the Town of Leverett, managed by the Conservation Commission (ConCom). FONLS will be showing the site to the CPA Commission members this week and entertaining their questions/concerns. They have been meeting with the ConCom and will continue to pursue the possibility of submitting a ''Notice of Intent'', for which they will need professional guidance; they are gathering bids at present. They will also be presenting the details of the proposal to the Selectboard. Therefore, they believe that input from various town boards and committees will necessitate the amendment of the proposal to respond to the desires of the various interests. Rather than asking for a letter of support at this point, FONLS promises to report back to the LHC with more information in the near future. The role of a Historic Preservation Restriction is on the table, but as yet undefined. Again, an explanation of why the sawmill building had to be secured before the title transfer could occur was offered. LHC chair again explained that it was her oversight that an emergency meeting of the LHC was not called in the short time period to allow FONLS to explain the urgency of temporary measures to meet the insurer's requirements before the building could be legally transferred. It was explained that many factors contributed to the need to move quickly, though it was emphasized that these are temporary solutions to securing the building, not what FONLS or others consider appropriate alterations to preserve the historic character of the sawmill.

      MOTION, moved by Susan Mareneck, seconded by Sara Robinson: Moved to support the Rattlesnake Gutter Trust application for CPA funding to conduct an assessment of the physical condition and legal status of Rattlesnake Gutter Road.

      Pass: Aye: Ann Tweedy, Susan Mareneck, Anne Schuyler, Sara Robinson, Susan Lynton, Carole Desanti. Abstain: Eva Gibavic. Not Present: Edie Field.

      Eva Gibavic recused self as she is an RGT board member.

      MOTION, moved by Susan Mareneck, seconded by Ann Tweedy: Move that the Historical Commission supports the Historical Society's application for CPA funding to preserve the Moore's Corner Schoolhouse with the suggestion that the budget include more specific detail.

      Pass: Aye: Ann Tweedy, Eva Gibavic, Susan Mareneck, Anne Schuyler, Carole Desanti. Abstain: Sara Robinson, Susan Lynton. Not Present: Edie Field.

      Sara Robinson and Susan Lynton recused themselves since they are officers of the Historical Society.

  3. Preservation Planning for Historical Assets

    • Preservation Planning - Industrial History Programming LHS Collection Inventory Preserving Leverett's Historic Properties Slarrow Sawmill HPR

      General Discussion...
      Discussion about ''Sense of Where You Are, Getting to Know Leverett's Industrial Past'' will occur at November meeting when Pleun Bouricius, consultant, can attend. The next program, ''The Charcoal Industry in Leverett'' will be presented on zoom on Thursday, December 1, 2022 at 7pm.

      The paper documents from the Leverett Historical Society archive are still being scanned, though they are mostly done. Larger objects, which will need to be photographed may need new funding, whether from the CPA fund or other source. A Leverett resident, Tim Pineault, who works at Amherst College, has volunteered to help with documenting larger objects.

      Discussion of the Historic Preservation Restriction (HPR) on the Slarrow Sawmill executed after CPA funding was provided in 2007 to repair a collapsed roof, is of concern to some members. Questions about whether the LHC can provide a letter of support for the Friends of the North Leverett Sawmill (FONLS) ''Heritage Site/Nature Trail'' application for CPA funding highlighting the acreage downstream from the sawmill without clarification on several issues concerning the Historic Preservation Restriction (HPR) on the sawmill itself. The Massachusetts Historical Commission (MHC) Preservation Planning Director, Michael Steinitz, has told the LHC that the current HPR on the sawmill was not approved and signed off by the MHC ''in perpetuity'' in 2008, but the current HPR could be ''restated and amended'' in a manner that would allow MHC to sign off. At present, the current HPR is good for 30 years from 2008 when it was signed, so has another 16 years of protection. Members expressed concern that when FONLS needed to secure the sawmill building with temporary panels, the LHC was ''informed'' but not ''consulted''. Explanation was given that the HPR mandates insurance as well and the ''securing'' of the site was a prerequisite for the insurance company. Although FONLS' goal is to have windows where the openings were originally, the cost is not yet something they can afford. The restoration of the roof, the posts, etc. from the 2007 CPC-funded restoration were not historically correct or to Dept. of the Interior Standards. An argument was made that this question must be settled before LHC could support the ''Heritage Site/Nature Trail '' (HS/NT) proposal since access to the site would need to be through the sawmill property. Another question raised about whether a separate HPR would need to be created for the HS/NT? How the two would be related is a question to address. In addition, the question came up about whether we need to issue two letters of support - one for the FONLS land and one for the town-owned parcel? Could there be an easement granted by FONLS through the sawmill property? It is reported that the Community Preservation Commission was concerned about parking for the HS/NT. Although the North Leverett Baptist Church has given permission to FONLS for additional parking at the church, the CPC brought up the issue of having a commitment ''in perpetuity'' from the church. It was discussed that ownership of 2 acres of the site by the town means that the procurement process will have to follow state guidelines. Members expressed enthusiasm for the HS/NT proposal and hope LHC can contribute to a process in which all parties can feel it is being done thoroughly and ''correctly''.

  4. Meeting Wrap-up

    • Next Meetings:
      1. Mon, Nov 14, at 7:00 PM "Historical Commission Meeting" -- https://us02web.zoom.us/j/86125147556
      2. Mon, Dec 12, at 7:00 PM "Historical Commission Meeting" -- https://us02web.zoom.us/j/86125147556
      3. Mon, Jan 9, at 7:00 PM "Historical Commission meeting" -- https://us02web.zoom.us/j/86125147556
    • Published! Meeting Closed at 9:04 PM.

The listing of matters is those reasonably anticipated by the Chair which may be discussed at the meeting. Not all items listed may in fact be discussed and other items not listed may also be brought up for discussion to the extent permitted by law.

Minutes prepared by SM

Posted to: Historical Commission.