By Alex Petroski
A Port Jefferson Village trustee wants to look to the past for inspiration while visualizing future construction.
Village board member Bruce Miller publicly introduced a draft of a resolution Dec. 4 born out of a meeting of the Architectural Review Committee, which if passed would require new buildings in the village’s commercial districts both uptown and downtown to adhere to designs consistent with Port Jeff’s “Victorian, maritime heritage.”
“We have a village for which there are a lot of reasons for people to come to Port Jefferson, either to visit, to live or to establish a business, and we believe that the charm of the community is part of that,” Miller said during the meeting. “We feel that we would want to emphasize our strong points. Development has been somewhat haphazard in the past, and we have a number of architectural styles. The core architectural style is a Victorian style.”
Miller, one of three members of the architecture committee, was outspoken about the look of various construction projects already underway in the village in February.
“We have a village for which there are a lot of reasons for people to come to Port Jefferson, either to visit, to live or to establish a business, and we believe that the charm of the community is part of that.”
— Bruce Miller
“This is a Victorian village but we’re turning it into hodgepodge lodge here,” he said during a meeting. “There’s just no cohesion here.”
Miller admitted after reading the drafted resolution during the meeting he didn’t expect immediate action from the board on the matter, but rather to begin a conversation with the hope of a resolution similar to the one proposed eventually reaching the point of a board vote.
“We have a number of mixed styles that have been constructed over the years in the village, and we, the committee, feel that establishing a brand — establishing Port Jefferson as a Victorian, maritime village as far as image is concerned and architecture — is important and helpful,” he said. “Sometimes developers want to build things that are maybe in the style that they prefer. Maybe they want to build things that are just cheaper to construct. We feel that this resolution highlights some direction for the future in terms of what will be more attractive to bring people to Port Jefferson in terms of visiting, tourism and property values.”
The committee’s other two members also attended the meeting and voiced support for Miller’s resolution.
“Because of the recognized history of the Victorian architecture in Port Jefferson Village, and because I believe that upper Port and lower Port should be coordinated in that effort, I feel that trustee Miller’s suggestion has merit and I would appreciate some thoughtful consideration be given to that,” said Kathy Schiavone, a six-year member of the committee.
Jackie Mooney also spoke during the meeting, calling her committee member’s suggestion “a very good one.”
Heritage Open Days, England’s largest festival of history and culture established in the mid-1990s to increase appreciation for the country’s cultural assets according to its website, points out several architectural characteristics considered to be of Victorian style, including patterned bricks, terraces, stained glass, front porches and high towers with pointed roofs. Many homes in the village share the characteristics associated with Victorian-era architecture. Certain village events, like the Charles Dickens Festival, are even billed as odes to Victorian-era culture..
None of the other Port Jeff Village board members commented on Miller’s proposal during the meeting.