From sightline rules about solar panels to preservation of antique windows, historic district watchdogs do measurable harm and negligible good.
Portland, Maine is a great city, for some.
Known for its food, working waterfront, and to a lesser degree, historic buildings, it’s a place many people would like to retire. But hand in hand with these pleasant daguerrotype fantasies, are the challenges. Perhaps Portland has always been two cities: the affluent one and the other one--Halfway houses number well into the double digits. Shuffling heroin addicts roam the streets, and public alcoholism often ends in a collapse on the sidewalk. But on the East and West Ends of the peninsula, where many of the oldest homes are, cash-rich newcomers have clashed with entrenched residents. Teardowns are causing an uproar. People are afraid the city will be “Bostonized.”