Thursday, February 17, 2011

Another Affront to Historic Preservation

This is  223-225 Allen Street--a very old house which, along with 211-213, predates the other houses on this stretch of Allen Street by forty or more years. The house has the misfortune of being owned by Phil Gellert, who is probably responsible for the missing (covered over) windows and is definitely responsible for the vinyl siding and the bizarre and inappropriate "portico" over the doorways. Until less than twenty-four hours ago, the house still had doors that, although probably not original, were definitely historic, with side lights and interesting moldings. Gellert had installed giant springs on the front of the doors to snap them back shut, because the tenants tended to leave them standing open in winter and summer, but even with that, it was possible for this passerby to admire them and be grateful that they, along with their side lights, had survived the insensitive "improvements" the building has suffered.

Now, regrettably, the doors are gone, replaced by mismatched metal doors, and the side lights have been covered over with plywood, to make the door openings smaller.  

Granted the building was no showplace before, but it looks even worse now. The problem, however, is not aesthetic. The problem is that the building is in a locally designated historic district, and this alteration--replacing historic fabric with something that is neither historic nor apppropriate--should have come before the Historic Preservation Commission, but it didn't. When a member of the HPC alerted his colleagues to what was happening at 223-225 Allen Street, he was reminded by Cheryl Roberts, the city attorney assigned to the HPC, that the Historic Preservation Commission has no enforcement power. Only the mayor and the code enforcement officer can enforce Hudson's historic preservation law. 

Mayor Scalera raised a ruckus--and rightfully so--when Gellert worked a deal with the county to turn his property at 518 Columbia Street into "congregate housing" for the homeless, in violation of Hudson's zoning code. Will he be similarly incensed by Gellert's blatant violation of Hudson's historic preservation ordinance?

Paragraph 169-15 of the City Code states that violators of Hudson's historic preservation ordinance are liable to a fine of up to $250 a day until the property to restored to its appearance prior to the violation. 


  1. Is there no end to Phil Gellert's abominations and blatant disregard for the City's laws and codes?

  2. Why should there be an end to Gellerts shenanigans when the town always looks the other way . Strange bedfellows indeed !

  3. Phil Gellert, is in the "top ten" of whats wrong with Hudson