Cambridge Historic Preservation Commission Eyes New Guidelines - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Cambridge Historic Preservation Commission Eyes New Guidelines

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 CAMBRIDGE, Md.- Many towns across the eastern shore have historic preservation commissions to keep their historic buildings looking beautiful and well maintained.  But in Cambridge there has been some debate over whether new proposed regulations here are taking that just a step too far.

Historic High Street in Cambridge was once described as one of the most beautiful streets in the country by James Michener.  And the historic preservation commission wants to keep it that way.  Which is why it has guidelines in place telling homeowners what they have to do to maintain their homes, and preserve them.

But Branden Spear, a contractor in Cambridge who owns ten historic homes, says those guidelines can be overkill.

"I've remodeled several houses in this area, and with all the properties I own, I'm at a standstill with anything more than painting.  We won't do it, we're not going to bother dealing with all of this stuff," said Spear.

He says that's because the approval process takes too much work.

And now, those guidelines could be changing according to Odie Wheeler, the head of Cambridge public works.  He says the rules haven't been modified since they were originally implemented.

"We felt as though since they haven't been updated since 1999, that we needed to start at the beginning and develop a whole new set," said Wheeler.

We reached out to the commissioners for comment but no one was available to speak with us on camera.  Locals say this increased rigidity would hurt more than it would help.

"There was an attempt to make the work of the commission less arbitrary by giving it very specific guidelines.  But from what I've seen, the result is something is too rigid to really be applicable," said Jim Benson, a High Street resident.

The comment period on these proposed regulations ends on November 30th and there are several hearings in between. 


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