Elizabeth Miller’s letter to the editor (“Historic districts are not the way to go on Munjoy Hill,” April 6) raises false fears based on an inaccurate understanding of Portland’s historic preservation ordinance.

The restrictions that historic designation would bring are neither “onerous” nor “counterproductive.” I know because I served on the city’s Historic Preservation Commission when the ordinance was first passed, and I’ve carefully followed this issue ever since.

The ordinance only protects significant architectural features, and often a full committee review is not required. The city’s historic preservation officer can approve many projects on her own, particularly if they involve simply replacement in kind (e.g., an old and perhaps rotten wood porch being replaced with a similar wood porch).

Many studies have shown that historic preservation improves property values, and it clearly improves the look of many communities. This is hardly “counterproductive.”

Also, the historic preservation review process encourages exactly what Elizabeth Miller asks for Munjoy Hill – a process that will “encourage creativity and innovation.” Modern approaches are welcome, but when they abut historic structures, some relationship of dimension, rhythm and materials is desired.

Finally, I should note that the process of creating a new historic district in Portland is lengthy and includes lots of community input. Nobody will awaken and be surprised to find that they are subject to a new set of protections.

Arthur Fink

Peaks Island