WILLIAMSVILLE, N.Y. (WIVB) — Some residents in the Village of Williamsville are fed up with plans for historic preservation along Main Street. They want their village protected, but don’t like the inconsistencies.

This debate about historic preservation started when a local restaurant wanted to add an enclosed patio to a historic building. Now, the village is trying to agree on how to protect the historic character of a larger stretch of Main Street.

According to the village’s website, a public hearing was scheduled to discuss the creation of an historic district in Williamsville. It would be called the “Williamsville Water Mill Historic District” and would feature the following addresses.

  • 15 Rock Street
  • 42 East Spring Street
  • 56 East Spring Street
  • 60 East Spring Street
  • 78 East Spring Street
  • 80 East Spring Street
  • 5570 Main Street
  • 5574 Main Street
  • 5578 Main Street
  • 5586 Main Street
  • 5590 Main Street
  • 5596 Main Street
  • 5604 Main Street

Share Kitchen & Bar Room, located at 5590 Main Street, is one of the impacted businesses. The owner proposed an addition to the structure earlier this year, which was met with some pushback from the Historic Preservation Committee. It ultimately allowed the restaurant to moved forward with the renovation at the last board meeting.

Many residents say the proposed Williamsville Historic Mill District includes some buildings along Main, Rock and East Spring Streets that are not historically significant while other buildings that are historic have been left out.

“We’re not against historic preservation, the way it’s being done has turned way too personal, way too political, and way too irrelevant. You’re not considering the property owners. You’re not considering the impact of the neighborhoods,” Lisa Batt said.

The Amherst Bee building is not included in the historic district despite being on Main Street because the board says it does not have a direct sightline of the mill and the building has been physically altered.

Residents say the historic preservation commission is hurting business owners.

“I believe that there was inconsistency. And where does it stop. St. Peter and Paul Church is a very historical building in the village. When does that district get created and encompass inconsistent buildings within or around the line of site of that building,” Michael Measer said.

Mayor Deb Rogers voiced her concerns about the inconsistent zoning policies that she says are driving the debate. She encouraged her fellow board members to consider this moving forward.

“Each and every time anyone comes in front of historic preservation that there is some consistency and people are not treated differently but they are governed equally,” Mayor Rogers said.

Residents will get another chance to speak out at the next Village Board meeting on Jan. 9. It is unclear when a final vote will come on Williamsville’s historic district.

Tara Lynch is a Buffalo native who joined the News 4 team as a reporter in 2022. She previously worked at WETM in Elmira, N.Y., a sister station of News 4. You can follow Tara on Facebook and Twitter and find more of her work here.