A few years ago, the Historic Preservation Commission agonized over the installation of a white plastic fence and a handicapped ramp with a white plastic balustrade at the church on the corner of Union Street and City Hall Place--once the First Baptist Church, now the Rock Solid Church. Peter Wurster, code enforcement officer, had given the church a building permit for the ramp without referring it to the HPC for a certificate of appropriateness, because, as he explained at the time, he always gave building permits to churches without question. Installing the fence, it seemed, didn't require a building permit.
Now the HPC is troubled by another white plastic fence--the one that's been installed behind J. Damiani Gallery (237 Warren Street), adjacent to Thurston Park. It's visible from Warren Street, and many people have expressed their displeasure with it.
Plastic fences may be a thorny issue for the Historic Preservation Commission. The HPC steadfastly maintains that they are not the "taste police." Although some of their decisions suggest that they are more concerned with "historic presentation" than historic preservation, their charge is to protect the integrity of Hudson's historic architecture. A white plastic fence here and there doesn't seem to threaten the authentic architectural fabric of the city--at least not in the way that removing genuinely historic details from a house in favor of newly fabricated elements that return it to someone's undocumented idea of how it originally looked does--but the proliferation of white plastic fences and their glaring inappropriateness next to anything other than Barbie's Dream House suggest that perhaps, in order to preserve the historic character of Hudson, the City should simply ban white plastic fences altogether.