It’s a sad state when volunteers do their best to follow the tenets of Columbia’s Historical Architectural Review Board and some on the borough council AND THE MAYOR bend over for money and override the H.A.R.B. decision.
Three community members serving on the H.A.R.B., have submitted their resignations from the Board in protest following the recent Council meeting in which the borough council rejected the H.A.R.B. decision to disallow the use of unauthentic materials in a refurbishment project. You can see the council decision and councillors reasoning at the archived video of the meeting at the borough facebook page.
Columbia Spy‘s coverage of that meeting is here: https://www.columbiaspy.com/2020/09/council-renders-decision-on-historic.html
Three H.A.R.B. volunteers have submitted their formal resignations in pointed letters of protest. Letters from Elaine Beckley, Ted Vedock and Glen Shaeffer are in the meeting packet for next Tuesday’s meeting. The three letters are extracted from that packet here.
Excerpts from the three letters include these:
- “Residents should be calling for the resignation of that Councilman and anyone else who believes in ‘special’ treatment or voted for their friend, rather than uphold the written the ordinance or precedents already set.”
- “I also can’t believe a Councilman declared that a landlord should get a free pass, because they have more invested.”
- “Furthermore, I have no interest in entertaining discussions of changes that would further weaken the Historic District Ordinance. Moving forward I do not see, after last Tuesdays council meeting and vote, how Columbia can hold any applicant to a higher standard than the very low one set by 3 members of council and the mayor.”
- “The precedent set by Council’s encouragement of the removal of character defining historic material in favor of a cheap, plastic imitation will be the beginning of an endless battle between HARB and Council as we work diligently to implement the ordinance and Secretary of the Interior’s standards, only to have our efforts undermined by Council decisions to overturn them. It is clear that my preservation opinions, values and ethics are not in alignment with current Borough leadership.”