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Bedford Seeks a Pro's Census of Historic Sites

To preserve this community's rich past, officials want a roster old architecture worth saving today.

Bedford is looking for what officials call a “preservation professional” to map the town’s historic structures.

Already a proud roll call of some 500 sites, the town’s current count of historically significant properties needs updating by someone with solid grounding in both architecture and history, the town board agreed this week. So, it will advertise for a specialist “to develop an Historic Resources survey based in part on the current survey compiled by the Historic Building Preservation Commission.”

The board's formal “request for proposals,” or RFP—the white-collar equivalent of advertising for competitive bids—broadly outlines the preservationist’s qualifications, calling for such things as a “knowledge of architectural house styles” and “experience in working with/on historic structures” in Westchester.

Submitted proposals should include a timeline, examples of similar, completed work and a recommended approach to compiling the project’s new survey.

Before the board’s vote Tuesday, Peter Michaelis, a longtime town activist and new chairman of the zoning board, suggested sharpening the RFP’s language to perhaps include federal definitions for historic surveys. Though Michaelis had stressed he was speaking as a private citizen, town historian John Stockbridge took the floor to declare himself “mystified” that another town panel, presumably a reference to the ZBA, was intruding itself into the historic structures discussion. “As far as I’m concerned,” he told the board, “the language we have is perfect.”

The town's list of historically significant properties was most recently discussed by officials when a Bedford Hills couple appealed a decision by the Historic Building Preservation Commission that barred them from demolishing a century-old, architecturally distinctive Katonah structure. The couple was granted the right to tear down the majority of the home but was required to preserve an architectural feature known as "the Belfry."

Town Clerk Lisbeth Fumagalli will open the proposals at 10 a.m., March 22, at town hall.

mark February 12, 2013 at 07:59 PM
Mr. Stockbridge shouldn't be mystified since this is far from the only instance where one panel interjects itself into another boards work.

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