Letter: New ordinance helps protect historic homes in Milford

To the Editor:
The City of Milford took an important step forward earlier this month to lend new credibility and legitimacy to historic preservation.
At their March meeting the Board of Aldermen passed a new Historic Preservation Ordinance which can protect architecturally or historically significant properties located outside the two local historic districts.
When an enabling statute was adopted by the Connecticut General Assembly in 2013, its purpose was to “encourage communities to explore innovative ways to highlight and preserve historic resources that are listed on the State or National Register of Historic Places.”
The Milford Preservation Trust determined that a preservation ordinance would serve as a fitting conclusion to the various commemorative events marking Milford's 375th anniversary, and would also perhaps be a fitting response to the loss of the Elijah Bryan house by demolition last October.
The Elijah Bryan house was a great loss for the City of Milford — built around 1790, it was an important and uncommon example of an architectural style that may have originated right here in Milford.
Milford has seen other significant properties fall to the wrecking ball: The Merwin-Cadley house, c.1790, was demolished in 2007.
Milford Preservation Trust was very deliberate in drafting the language for the new Historic Preservation Ordinance, treading carefully between protecting historic properties that might be considered part of a common cultural heritage, and protecting the rights of property owners.
The Historic Preservation Ordinance will only affect properties whose owners willingly agree to list their homes on the State Register of Historic Properties.
Milford Preservation Trust is available to answer any questions for homeowners of historic properties; we can assist with listing properties on the State Register of Historic Places and refer homeowners to other sources for information on tax credits, architectural review and historic rehabilitation.
Milford city officials should be very proud to have literally put historic preservation “on the books.”
Milford has been blessed with a fine collection of 18th century homes which merit stewardship and protection for future generations to enjoy. It is essential that historic preservation be a part of city planning and development.
Michele Kramer
on behalf of Milford Preservation Trust