Another member of the Groton Historic District Commission has resigned, the second person of the five-member group to leave in the last two months.
Elaine Cole, a Democrat whose term ends on Dec. 31, resigned on July 1 with a letter. She did not specify the reason for her decision.
Last month, and was then replaced by James Kimenker, a partner in a real estate development and management firm.
Nado’s colleague, Michael Sarasin, took over as commission chairman.
Bruce Flax, chairman of the Town Council’s personnel committee, said the historic district commission clearly had problems, but if he had his way, it wouldn’t turn over all at once.
“I don’t know what’s driving them (to resign). I haven’t had a discussion with them,” Flax said. “But my feeling is the town needs a historic commission and it still needs balance. I don’t want to see it go to the other extreme.”
The commission has been the scrutinized since December, saying the group had become an elitist board that was treating the historic area like a “museum” and making unreasonable and costly demands on homeowners. The letter sought the immediate resignation of the commissioners.
Flax said he hopes that complaints like the commission’s lack of understanding about economics, are resolved. But he doesn’t want the pendulum to swing too far.
“I don’t want the commission to be a pushover," he said.
In February, the personnel committee made an initial move to change the group and , who had served on the commission for 15 years.
They recently replaced her with Mark Somers, a cardiologist and former board member of New London Main Street. Somers was initially appointed to serve as an alternate member of the commission.
Three alternate members were also recently appointed: Sarah Moriarty, an attorney who studies historical architecture and antique boats as a hobby; Todd Brady, who owns and is overseeing the $300,000 restoration of Mystic & Noank Library; and William Everett, a retired member of the legal department at Electric Boat.
The personnel committee voted July 10 to fill Cole’s position by moving up Everett, but then was notified there might be a problem, Flax said.
Everett is a Republican and Cole is a Democrat. Town Clerk Betsy Moukawsher said Cole's seat must be filled by a Democrat, as three of the five full-time historic district commissioners are Republicans.
Flax said he’s received conflicting information about what’s allowed, so the town council tabled the matter to sort it out. The council is expected to take up the issue at its meeting Aug. 7.