Beacon Adds Six Properties to Historic District

314 Main Street

Built in 1889 at the corner of North Chestnut, 314 Main St., far right, was a former saloon and dress shop. (Photos by City of Beacon)

Council tables votes on nine others 

The Beacon City Council voted to add six properties on or near Main Street to its historic district on Tuesday (July 6), but tabled votes on nine others nominated for inclusion because it lacked the supermajority needed to overcome objections from the buildings’ owners. 

The building at 269 Main St., built in 1929 and once the home of the Beacon News, and 314 Main St., built in 1889 and a former saloon, were two of the properties approved for historic-landmark status by the council. The council also voted to add 232 Main, 315 Main, 403 Main and 1158 North Ave. to the historic district. 

Beacon has revised the requirements of the district in the last two years to make it more appealing to property owners.

1158 North Ave

An automobile showroom used to occupy 1158 North Ave. in Beacon.

Historic structures are now eligible to apply for permits allowing special uses associated with history, the arts or culture, such as hotels or other professional uses. The restoration of historic features may also be eligible for tax exemptions and, in some instances, historic preservation grants.

However, the district has its own architectural and design standards. Any alteration of exterior historic features visible from a public street, sidewalk or park would require a certificate of appropriateness from the Planning Board. 

The owners of nominated buildings can ask to be excluded, but a supermajority of the council (five of its seven members, which wasn’t possible with only four members in attendance on Tuesday) can overrule an objection.

One of the nominees still pending because its owner filed an objection is the Salvation Army building at 372 Main St. If it is added to the district, the decision on the special-use permit required to build a fourth story next door at 364 Main St. would shift to the City Council, rather than the Planning Board.

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