Council Supports Repair of Deteriorating Historic Homes
The Historic District Commission requested the council take action regarding two deteriorating homes in Newport's historic district.
The Newport City Council on Wednesday accepted a communication from the Newport Historic District Commission to take action against the owner of 166 Spring St. and 62 Spring St., “regarding the escalating deterioration of [the] two properties."
In an April 2 letter from the HDC to the City Council, the commission urged, “If immediate and effective action is not taken, the deterioration of these buildings could soon escalate to an irreparable condition and these important Newport buildings will be lost to chronic neglect or condemnation.”
The commission is seeking the help of the City Council in securing and rehabilitating the two properties, which have been found in a state of demolition of neglect by the HDC.
DSM Realty owns the properties, including two other homes on 23 Sherman St. and 219 Spring St., which are currently under renovations.
On Jan. 19, the HDC sent a letter to owner David Malkin, of DSM Realty. Malkin reportedly never responded to the letter, but did contact the building official and preservation planner.
When further documentation, including a timeline for rehabilitation of the properties, was requested to be sent to the preservation planner, Malkin failed to respond, according to the HDC. It was then the HDC requested intervention from the City Council.
According to the letter, the HDC has recommended the council to “compel the respective property owners to address specific deteriorating conditions at the identified properties by July I, 2012.” If the owner fails to comply, the HDC recommended the City stabilize the properties and redirect the expenses by placing liens on the premises, or use available resources to halt further deterioration.
“We need to do whatever is necessary to make this property owner bring that property up to the minimum standards irrespective of what it costs,” Councilor Henry Winthrop said.
Councilor Justin McLaughlin made the motion to accept the communication to accept the HDC’s findings and satisfy conditions of the city’s ordinances respective to historic properties. He added the council should direct the city administration to notify the owner to commence repairs no later than 30 days after the notification, work with the owner to establish minimum repairs to remove the properties from demolition by owner neglect, initiate actions with municipal court, and report back to the council no later than July 1 with a report on compliance. If the owner should not comply, the city may move forward with the HDC’s recommendations.
Waluk said he believed the motion to be a “step in the right direction” and the entire community would benefit from saving the properties.