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Statewide Spotlight: Places that Matter

A Membership Month Story:

One of Preservation Massachusetts' core programs is our Most Endangered Historic Resources List. Since 1993, this advocacy program has shone a spotlight on important buildings, landscapes and structures that are threatened in some way. Using our statewide platform, we strive to collaborate with local advocates and others in a positive way to find a successful preservation outcome. Of course not everything turns out the way we hope (there's always a silver lining somewhere), but when the Most Endangered program supports a dedicated grassroots effort, like it did in Truro in 2016, the results can be very inspiring. Here's how your membership supported efforts to save a resource of national significance.

Saving Truro's Seashore

Enacted into law in 1961, The Cape Cod National Seashore is a national resource, spanning several towns on Lower Cape Cod. The National Seashore District was the first of the National Park System to allow privately owned lands to remain within its borders, which created an interesting mix of historic structures and landscapes. This important area is tremendously popular and increasing development pressure began to threaten the National Seashore area in Truro. As of 2016, it was the only town within the Cape Cod National Seashore District without adequate protective zoning. As a result, smaller scale historic homes were being demolished to make way for new, much larger scale construction. This was not just a visual change, but a change in the fundamental character of the seashore in Truro.

A group of local advocates founded Save Truro Seashore to build public support to protect the rural, scenic and historic character of the National Seashore. They worked on public outreach and efforts to encourage the Planning Board and Board of Selectmen to reasonably limit future building size within the National Seashore District in a way appropriate to concerns of unfair restrictions on private property rights.

In 2016, the Truro National Seashore was listed on Preservation Massachusetts' Most Endangered Historic Resources List after being nominated by Save Truro Seashore. With an eye toward an April 2017 town meeting, their hope was that a statewide audience and press recognition would continue to build public support for this important resource. The combination worked, for on April 25 Truro voted to approve restricting the size of new houses built within the national seashore district.

Preservation Massachusetts was happy to be able to support Save Truro Seashore and the local advocates dedicated to ensuring this national landscape remains intact for future generations to appreciate and enjoy!

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