NENA Board Member Carlos Coto missed a chance to stand up for NENA’s members and for historic preservation in the North End at yesterday’s Historic Preservation Commission meeting. Meeting video here, Coto at 1:13.
In his testimony on behalf of NENA, Coto said: “We agree with the staff report. The report says that the house is a non-contributing structure. It doesn’t matter how much we like it, it’s a non-contributing structure….We believe….the homeowner has every right to alter it. The homeowner has gone above and beyond, moving the canal…the neighbor has gone above and beyond and should not be penalized….”
BUT… The “non-contributing” status is based on a survey from 1978, before historic guidelines were in place. This homeowner had 10 trees removed to accommodate a new structure, with no permit. A nearby neighbor testified that the house is not “dilapidated” as stipulated by the owner.
It’s not clear if or how Coto engaged neighbors before this meeting or how their views were incorporated in his testimony. Long-time observers had expressed concerns in social media. Others were talking afterward.
Coto’s support for owner rights was surprising based on his own vocal opposition to owner rights in the recent TRICA and Franklin House questions. TRICA happens to be across the street from his own home.