Clock ticks for demolition delay ordinance

To the Editor:

In a few short weeks the Demolition Delay Ordinance, enacted by Milford City Historian Richard Platt, will expire. The Sanford/Bristol House, built c. 1790, will be no more. Though it has endured for centuries, through war, weather and yes, recent neglect, perhaps it could not stand up to local politics.

It is part of Milford's First Historic District, established in 1976, and as of 1986 it is also part of the River Park National Register Historic District. The property is part of the National Trust, the public trust. Public Trust — it has a certain ring to it, doesn't it? — is an ancient common law concept that is now the basis for some of our existing environmental acts.

All of which means that the Sanford/Bristol House belongs to all of us — to you and to me. In a few short weeks this historic home will stand no longer — unless you decide to take a stand for it.

Election Day looms: Where do the candidates stand on the subject of historic preservation? Why won't they take a stand? Have we learned nothing from Prospect Street, still unprotected by historic designation? And the Merwin Cadley house? That debacle is now a statewide case study for bad preservation practices, cited often.

As for our Historic District Commission, why didn't they, whose purview is to "identify, protect and enhance historic resources", take a stand? Why didn't they at least ask some hard questions of the owner — was the property listed on the state or national historic property exchange, were all alternatives to demolition explored?

As time for the Sanford/Bristol House runs out, and election time approaches, residents in the Historic District and beyond should not fail to see the irony in this: Mr. Farrell, owner of the historic property, is seeking a spot on Planning and Zoning in the very same district where bulldozers will be lining up.

If it were not so very sad, it would be hilarious. Only in Milford?

Michele Chesson Kramer